George Floyd and A Window for Justice

I have to acknowledge a truth from the start:  I speak from a place of privilege.  I see the heartache of black America, and it shakes me to my core.  But I see it from a distance, having not experienced indignities based on my race.  My commitment to my black fellow citizens is to stand with you and to fight injustice, as we continue the work to make ours a more perfect union.

For people who are white, the last few weeks have offered a window into what it might mean to be a black person in America.  Would my encounter with police, my jog down the sidewalk, or my peaceful morning of bird watching become a potential life-and-death confrontation, with a legacy of stereotypes haunting my ability to live free and exercise basic rights without fear of arrest, bodily injury, or even death?

Looking through that window into someone else’s experience is the definition of empathy.  That window is always there.  But without firsthand experience, I cannot, in spite of all of my empathy, truly feel the same fear or anger or grief as the black citizens I work for every day.  

At this moment, we also have a different kind of window available to us:  a window of opportunity.  George Floyd died in a senseless and unconscionable act of violence. But his death—and a wave of protests calling for justice—has created heartache that is opening up new possibilities.  To honor the memory of George Floyd and so many others, we must see their deaths as a call to reform and renewal.  You can read more in my statement here. 

In reflecting on the path forward, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis concluded, “Our work won’t be easy — nothing worth having ever is — but I strongly believe, as Dr. King once said, that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.”  That arc feels long right now, but together, we can work to help bend it. 

In this moment, “justice for all” is more than our nation’s credo—it is a call to action and prayer as we work for a better tomorrow. 

In Peace, 

Phil

(photo by Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)