Tag Archives: George Floyd

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice Book Review

Change can happen in a number of ways. One of the ways is a single moment that catalyzes a movement and forces change.

That moment was the murder of George Floyd two years ago. It forced all of us to open our eyes to the structural racism that has plagued this nation and limited African-Americans for centuries. His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, was published earlier this month. The book not only traces Floyd’s life, it tells the story of how structural racism affected his family going back generations.

We get to know the man behind the image. He was a sweet, intelligent person who loved his family and had ambitions beyond what was expected of him. Had Floyd (whose family knew him as Perry) not been limited simply because of his skin color, Floyd might have done great things with his life. But, as we all know, his life was cut short in a tragic and horrific manner.

I think this book is a necessary read for all of us. It is a condemnation of all of us who were previously unable or unwilling to take off our blinders. It is a reminder that hate kills. There is no going back and undoing what has been done. We can only move forward and do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.

Do I recommend it? Without a doubt. I would not be surprised if it was not only on the bestseller list for a long time to come, but also on many “best-of” lists by the end of the year.

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice is available wherever books are sold.

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Two Giant Steps Forward and One Step Back: Ketanji Brown Jackson and the Ten Year Anniversary of the Homicide of Trayvon Martin

One of the most potent and universal quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. is as follows:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Last Saturday, February 26th, was the ten-year anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Had his killer (who shall not be named on the blog) not decided to take the law into his own hands, young Mr. Martin would be 27. He might have graduated from high school and college, started a successful career, and perhaps said “I do” by now. But he will forever remain 17, a promising life full of possibilities that we can speak of in a hypothetical manner.

Though we cannot bring Travyon back to life or undo the acquittal of the man who was responsible for his killing, we can see look to our present and see where progress has been made. The men responsible for the executions of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of their respective crimes.

During the 2022 Presidential election, President Biden promised to nominate an African-American woman to the Supreme Court. On February 25th, he kept his promise. After Justice Stephen Breyer announced his upcoming retirement, Ketanji Brown Jackson was introduced to the country as his replacement.

This is one GIANT step forward. As both a woman and a person of color, Brown Jackson, represents the true nature and the potential of this nation. With March being Women’s History Month and this coming Tuesday being International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our wins and identify where there is more work to be done.

Of course, not everyone welcomed her with open arms. Her legal abilities and history were questioned by some Republicans (no surprise there). The obvious inquiry is if Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh had to face the same criticism. Probably not. My hope and prayer is that not only will she sit on the highest court of the land, but also that she will help to create the America that we know is possible.

May the memory of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, etc, be a blessing and a reminder of how far we need to go.

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WTF is Going on in This Country?: Kyle Rittenhouse & Paul Gosar

The purpose of the news is to share the events of the day. It’s not supposed to induce a WTF moment.

On Friday, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges. While two men are dead and a third must live with the trauma of being shot, Mr. Rittenhouse will be returning to his family. This is the problem with the justice system in America. Jacob Blake was assumed to be guilty simply because of his skin color and not even given the opportunity of a fair trial.

Last week, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar published what can only be described as a heinous video on his Twitter account of killing AOC and then attempting to do the same to the President. After he was censured by the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Gosar.

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If the Representative from Arizona had any other job, not only would he have been fired immeditately, but he might have also been sued. But because he is in Congress and a very right-leaning Republican who still stands with you know who, he gets away with it.

We don’t have to always agree with one another. That is the beauty of the nation and what she stands for. But when we threaten to hurt or kill one another, either on the internet or in person, there MUST be consequences.

That is, unless you align politically in a certain direction, where violence and destruction are the norm when you don’t get your way.

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P.S. If the men who are accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery are acquitted, the response may likely be ten times more than the response to George Floyd‘s murder last year.

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Thoughts On the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death

It is amazing how a year can change us or the world as we know it to be.

One year ago today, George Floyd‘s life was taken by Derek Chauvin. Floyd could have been just another number, another causality of the police brutality against Americans of color. Instead, he became an icon and a match that would light the fire of protest against prejudice and hatred for people across the country and the world.

I wish that it did not have to be this way. Mr. Floyd did not have to die that day. But because he was a black man in America, Chauvin decided that he was both judge and juror.

May the memory of George Floyd forever be a blessing and a reminder of how powerful and pervasive racism can be.

Z”l.

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Justice Served: Derek Chauvin Found Guilty

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most recognizable faces of the Civil Rights movement, said the following:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Justice was served in the United States. Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

If am to be completely honest, I was holding my breath as I watched the news coverage. G-d only knows what would have happened had Chauvin been acquitted.

I can only hope that this case represents a change not just for the various law enforcement departments across this country, but for the country as a whole. If we are to reach the imagery and idealism that is the backbone of this nation, this verdict is an important step. The police can no longer target men and women of color without impunity.

Though this case cannot remove the stain of the past, it is a what we need to move forward. Perhaps the future is bright in this country after all.

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Where is the Line Between Protection and Brutality?

One of racism’s side effects is that it makes everything more complicated. This includes the job of the police and law enforcement institutions.

On Sunday, Daunte Wright became the latest victim of police brutality against a person of color in the United States. The officer, who as of tonight has resigned from her job, claims that she meant to fire her taser and not her gun.

If this was a one off event and it was a honest mistake, the reaction would of course be completely different. But because Mr. Wright is not the first person and will sadly not be the last person of color to be killed by the police, it is just another reminder of how pervasive racism is in this country.

Adding salt to the wound is the location of the shooting. The murder of George Floyd and the trial against his accused killer, Derek Chauvin is not too far from where Daunte Wright took his last breath.

There has to be a line between protecting the public and randomly targeting people of color. That line has to be affirmed by both the public and those who work in law enforcement. When then the line is crossed, those involved should be punished.

The question is, where is the line and what will it take for us to do something about this problem?

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New York City is not a “Anarchist Jurisdiction”

Between Covid-19 and the protests against racial injustice this summer, I think it is safe to say that most places in the US are drained in every sense of the word.

Earlier this week, the DOJ (who are working for the President and not for the people) claimed that New York City is an “anarchist state“. The official statement is the following:

New York City is one of three places that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to its designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” the Justice Department said Monday.

I don’t how how they describe anarchy, but this is what I think of when someone says anarchy.

From my perspective, it looks like they think that protests against racism and racial injustice are the work of so-called “anarchists”. If that is the case, this country is in deep trouble. While there will always be crimes and the need for police, there is also the right to protest. If that is what they deem “anarchy”, I will take that over the autocratic police state that is the vision of the current administration.

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The NBA Strike is More Than a Night Off

Whether we know it or not, we often look to celebrities as examples of how to behave or not behave.

Since May, when George Floyd was murdered, protests have exploded all over the country. Across Hollywood and the sports world, celebrities have stepped up in the name of justice and equality.

With the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend, America was again reminded that police still single out Americans of color. In response, several NBA teams have chosen to strike. Jared Kusher, sticking his nose in where it did not belong, claimed that they were “taking the night off“.

The full quote is as follows:

“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”

While it is true that they will still earn their salaries, this strike is not about money. It is about racial inequity and violence that still exists in the United States. These players are using their platform to take a stand and send a message.

Not that Kushner or anyone around him would be able to understand that message.

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My Heart Breaks For Jacob Blake’s Children

When it comes to our children, we are taught that we should model the behavior that we want them to emulate.

If that is the case, then I wonder what the children of the Jacob Blake have learned. On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Blake, an unarmed African-American man, was shot by police. They shot him in front of his three children as they sat in the family car. The children are all under the age of ten.

As of yesterday, Mr. Blake was still in intensive care.

I have to wonder what message this sends not only to his children, but to everyone’s children? That people of color, especially African-American men and women, are automatically suspicious because of their skin color?

This summer has been one of upheaval, to say the least. Between the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, protests have been happening non stop. The message should be loud and clear. Law enforcement does not have the carte blanche right to arrest and kill simply because the assumed perpetrator has dark skin.

My prayer is two fold. The first half is that Mr. Blake wakes up and returns home as physically and emotionally whole as possible. The second half is that his children are do not grow up with the emotional scars that come with what they witnessed.

Happy Tuesday.

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Is NYC Going Back to the Bad Old Days?

For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.

Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.

Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.

Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.

But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.

I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.

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