I have hesitated to post publicly about the senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd. My hesitation was due to the fact that I wasn’t sure that I had the moral authority to speak publicly on this issue. However, I got a helpful nudge from several of our employees, which caused me to rethink my position.
Let me start by saying that I do have the moral authority to address this topic. There are not two sides to this issue. There is no ambiguity here. George Floyd was killed because he was Black. Full stop. This was not an isolated incident. This is a systemic, pervasive, and morally abhorrent problem.
In the days since, there have many eloquent articles, posts, tweets, and videos in support of #blacklivesmatter and the protests arising from Mr. Floyd’s death, but one that particularly moved me was a Linkedin post from one of our employees, Stefanie Caldwell.
Stef is a white woman married to a Black man. Here are her words:
How do I feel when I leave my house in sweatpants on and my husband changes out of his so he looks presentable in public?
How do I feel when I cut across my neighbors grass to get somewhere five minutes more quickly and my husband refuses for fear of … god knows what?
I feel privileged.
How do I feel when I walk into a restaurant and the waiter takes my order and the orders of my white friends and ignores my husband?
How do I feel when we get pulled over for no reason whatsoever as we abide by the law and go about our day just as any other white couple would?
I feel enraged.
How do I feel every time I walk into a room and feel the room overflowing with diversity?
How do I feel every time I think about my future son and future daughter and the world that I want to create for them so that the world may be their oyster in the same way that my mother told me the world was mine?
I feel hopeful.
I will never know your fight. I will stand next to you and I will fight with you. I will do everything I can to understand, empathize and support you.
Let’s make the world a better place, together.
The day-to-day challenges that Black people face are things that I will never have to deal with. The public discourse on this issue weighs heavily towards the big stuff: police reform, education, equal opportunities in terms of career choice, and the like.
But the constant fear that Black people face just going about their day-to-day lives is something that I haven’t spent enough time thinking about. The death of George Floyd and notes like Stef’s humanize this problem in a way that will outlive the current protests.
There are many ways to get involved and join this fight. Joining a peaceful protest is an immediate way, as is donating (Black Lives Matter and the Chicago Community Bond Fund are two organizations that my wife and I have supported this week).
These are easy for many of us, but here is something even easier: be a part of the political process. Vote. Attend a virtual campaign event. Support elected officials who aren’t going to make excuses, fudge the numbers, or try to convince you that there are multiple sides to this issue. Do something. Do anything.
While deep and complicated, these problems can get better but will require a President, a justice department, a congress, and a public that cares deeply about this issue.
Real change requires courage. Courage in the face of chaos. Courage when there are no easy answers. Courage to do the right thing, always.
Like Stef, I’m hopeful change emerges from tragedy.
Finally, I want to note how incredibly inspired I am by our team at Narrative Science. It is clear in their words and actions that there is a universal desire to speak out and take action. As a company, I’m proud that Narrative Science stands against racism of any kind and stands in solidarity with Black lives everywhere.