I can’t breathe. The three words that erupted the world into anger, frustration, and motivation to change our system. George Floyd, or better known to some as Big Floyd, was a 46 year old man who had moved to Minneapolis to find work. Born in North Carolina, but raised in Houston, Texas, George Floyd was described as a gentle giant, and the father to a beautiful 6 year old girl who still lives in Houston with her mother. Floyd was a great athlete who especially loved football and basketball, but he also had a passion for music. He made music with a hip hop group called the “Screwed Up Click”. On top of that he worked two jobs, as a truck driver and a security guard at a restaurant, always ready to greet people with a friendly smile. This was George Floyd.
On Monday, May 25th, all it took was 8 minutes and 46 seconds to take the life of this man, all because it was believed he gave a $20 counterfeit bill to a cashier at the Cup Foods grocery store on Chicago Ave in Minneapolis. This act, if proven guilty, would have only had a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine of no more than $3,000; however, Floyd unfortunately had to pay a much steeper price. Racism in the United States and Canada has been in existence since the founding of the two countries. Although we may think we have come a long way; but, as was seen with the events that brought forward the Black Lives Matter movement, racial biases still prevail to this day.
The movement itself started back in 2013 due to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Their current mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” (About - Black Lives Matter, 2020). The goal is to work towards a world where black lives are no longer targets due to systematic racism.
So what can people who are not Black do to support this movement? Educate yourself, donate, sign petitions, stand by each other in solidarity and demand justice and equality. By becoming allies of the Black community and learning about the years of injustice they have faced and continue to face to this day, one can better support and help them express their message. In this time it is essential to use your voice in any way possible. We are here to make a change.
Being silent is not the answer and the SBSS would like to acknowledge the many recent discriminatory events that have occured. We share anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment in the lack of progress in protecting the Black community and people of colour from acts of racism and injustice. We stand as one with all of our students, faculty, and greater Carleton community during these times. We value diversity in our team and are committed to making a difference by continuing to learn, grow, and become better allies everyday.
Below are some resources you can use to educate yourself, donate, or sign petitions. If you cannot donate, there is also a video you can watch with all proceeds being donated towards the movement. We stand together.