Considering George Floyd's murder and the protests
Here's a few things I've been reading this week that I've found really helpful and inspiring:
- I love this piece that Stacey Abrams wrote for the New York Times about how much voting matters right now. Sometimes the most basic things — the things easiest to overlook or take for granted — are what can make the biggest difference.
- President Obama’s piece about local politics and police reform is great — not only because it's insightful but also because his calm, clear, eloquent voice is so comforting to hear right now.
- Neil DeGrasse Tyson wrote a powerful blog post about his experiences with discrimination and police bias.
- Marques Brownlee, a tech journalist and Youtuber I've followed for a long time, was inspired by Dr. Tyson's article to reflect on his own life experience.
- Ayesha McGowan is the world's first (and so far, only) black female pro cyclist. In addition to being a great athlete, she's also an excellent writer, and she's been reflecting lately on her blog on the protests, as well as representation and racism in the cycling industry
(Note: Also I like the typography joke in the title of her site, A Quick Brown Fox.).
- Check out this great list of resources for antiracism
(Note: Hat tip to kottke.org for the link to this list.).
I'll update this list as I find more.
An aside: some brief thoughts
For the past week I've read the news with a mixture of heartbreak and fury and occasional despair. I can't imagine what George Floyd's family has been going through. His senseless murder was horrifying — but all the more so because he was only one of thousands of people of color who have wrongfully lost their lives in the hands of the police over the last decade. It wasn't long ago that my own city, Baltimore, was burning, following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. That was a night I hoped never to see again, but instead it's a scene that has replayed again and again across the country.
How do we channel all our grief and fury into a lasting movement that brings meaningful change? I sure as hell don't know the answer. I don't know what to do right now.
Mostly I've been reading, trying to listen carefully, and trying to figure out how to use this as an opportunity to learn to be a better antiracist advocate, and, in turn, a better citizen. As a white man I feel I have a duty to speak up in support of the protests and the movement, but most of all I feel I have a duty to understand the reality that my black and brown neighbors face — one that is very different from my own. It's their voices and their experiences, above all else, that matter right now. The articles I've linked to, above, offer compelling ideas and insights, and I hope these voices, among many others, will inspire a very loud and very public conversation about police reform, disenfranchisement, systemic racism, and what a better future looks like.
I pray that this is the turning point in the battle that will bring real change; that George Floyd's family will be able to find closure and justice; and, most of all, I pray that no one else will have to suffer the same fate. It's on all of us to prevent that.
Black lives matter.