A Letter to Mr. George Floyd
April 21, 2021
Dear Mr. Floyd,
Yesterday, there were declarations that “justice” had been served in your name. Tears flowed and celebratory cries echoed in the air across America and the world. I, too, wept as my 10-year old daughter held me in her arms to offer me comfort. And, yet Mr. Floyd, I am reminded that Black folks have been worried, hesitant, filled with trepidation based on the uncertainly that this trial brought. I have talked with friends over the past month where sincere doubt and claims of “They better get this right or this country is going to burn” were the common sentiments. And, yet, here we are.
I didn’t know you personally, but your story is the story of my father, uncles, brother, cousins, and son. Your story is not one of perfection but one of joys, pains, struggle, brilliance, and sacrifice. A story of striving to show up as your best self in spite of_____. Your story is etched in the experiences of Black men and young boys across this country who are consumed with fear each moment they step foot outside of inside spaces. Your story is tattooed on the hearts of Black women and young girls who carry anxious thoughts way down deep in the pit of their bellies about the ambiguous fate of the Black men they cherish. Your story is imprinted in the fabric of the Black community, an intricately woven tapestry of resilience, frustration, hope, distress, and love.
Yesterday, there were declarations that “justice” had been served in your name. I would dare offer, Mr. Floyd, that what we saw yesterday was the beginning of a conversation about accountability. Accountability to policing and the justice system. Accountability for the hundreds of lost lives past, present, and unfortunately, I will say future.
In the days before the verdict and in only moments before it was announced, a young Black man and woman lost their lives to acts of police violence. As we have continued to say your name over the past year, we now add Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant to an exhaustive list of young Black brothers and sisters who will never see the light of day again.
Yesterday, there were declarations that “justice” had been served in your name. I would dare offer, Mr. Floyd, that what we saw yesterday was the beginning of a conversation about the nasty, persistent presence of white supremacy—the foundation of this country. White supremacy’s foothold in our policing and justice system. What happens when we stand up against white supremacy and experience a rare instance where the outcome is in our favor.
My prayer is that your family and friends find peace in this verdict. That this moment offers them some hope. That the people who love you and are committed to keeping your legacy alive experience moments of comfort.
Yesterday, there were declarations that “justice” had been served in your name. I would dare offer, Mr. Floyd, that what we saw yesterday was a call to action that acknowledges that anti-Black racism does indeed exist, and that Black life has and always will matter.
You should be alive; you should be with your family and friends living your life and doing the things that bring you joy. Stretching your arms towards the sky, closing your eyes, and feeling the warm sun on your beautiful brown skin. You should be teaching, hugging, and loving your children, lifting young Gianna on your shoulders to laugh and play. You deserved more time. We should not be speaking of you in the past tense. And, there should not be a collective mourning of your death and a glimmer of optimism in a verdict of “guilty” on all counts. And, yet, here we are.
May the God of peace who moves in ways that are mysterious to us—who crafted our life story before we were even formed in our mothers' wombs—wrap us in light and love.
Your life and death were not in vain. You, my brother, are Black excellence.
Rest in Peace Mr. George Perry Floyd Jr.