Of all the imagery, demonstrations, dialogue and destruction unleashed after George Floyd died, nothing impacted me more than those simple words from his young daughter. The pride and the hope captured in that short sentence has powered a global body of work for twelve months. I wish we could celebrate more clear progress toward dismantling systemic racism, but for now, we can at least acknowledge that the challenges cannot be put off any longer: it is time to grapple with the consequences of racial discrimination, on a scale not really attempted for more than 50 years.
We need to approach this work with both urgency and patience; with compassion and diligence; with grace and accountability. I suspect the energy needed to maintain these tensions will sap us, individually and collectively. We are going to need to push each other, but also carry each other sometimes. I believe we need lots and lots of practice learning to talk about this work, so that good intentions do not get tripped up by unintentional poor word-choices. There have been decades of talking past each other on topics of race so we should expect challenges in really understanding what needs to be said, what needs to be heard, what needs to change.
But my hope, my prayer and my commitment is that by the time George Floyd’s little girl grows up, she can celebrate changes in a more equitable world.