As the world marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, his family is calling for action and spreading a message of hope.
“We wanted to change this tragedy into something that was triumphal — not be a family of victims. We wanted to be victorious,” says Roger Floyd, George Floyd’s uncle. “What the family wants to do is to change the narrative to how we can impact the lives of others.”
In the twelve months since May 25, 2020, when George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Floyd’s family has established the George Floyd Memorial Center, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that aims to promote and nurture social change. Why Raleigh? Because George Floyd was born nearby — in Fayetteville, N.C. — and several of his family members live in the Triangle area, including his uncle, Roger.
Do something good for someone else
Through merchandise sales and donations to the center, the Floyd family and its supporters are raising money for several community initiatives, including scholarships and job training for Black youth, a Museum for Urbanistic Art, and a Leadership Academy. Advocates also want the center to be a place where people of differing backgrounds can come to learn more about George Floyd and the movement he sparked.
“That was a world awakening. The world saw [what] Black America has been talking about for hundreds of years,” says Roger Floyd, Chief Impact Officer for the nonprofit. “There’s more engagement now in dialogue, in talking about it.”
This year, that pivotal moment is being remembered as the Day of Enlightenment. The center has planned commemorative events, and the family is asking the public for one thing only: do something good for someone else on that day.
“Look at it as the beginning,” says Roger Floyd. “How has George Floyd changed you? How has George Floyd changed a community, a city, a state, a country, a world? How has this tragedy, how has it impacted your life?”
“What are you going to do about it to make a difference?”
Now, perhaps more than ever, so many people are asking themselves that question. Whether they’re asking at home or at work, the answer is the same: dig in, and educate yourself.
Progress begins with personal learning
In the business community, DEI training, team workshops, and/or empathy-building exercises are valuable ways to promote trust and create safe spaces for personal learning. These efforts don’t only boost employee satisfaction, says Floyd, who owned an insurance agency for many years, they also boost customer satisfaction.
An inclusive environment and a service attitude — infused with compassion and a sense of fairness — helps everyone feel both welcome and appreciated. “It’s about the fiduciary responsibility you have as a business to take care of your customers,” he says. “That’s what a relationship is all about. I can trust you. I believe you.”
In the workplace, it’s sometimes difficult to know if and how you should dive into these conversations, and it can be challenging to establish the trust that is necessary for real inclusion and cultural change. A third-party consultant can help to kickstart those conversations and put you on the path to improved workplace equity and a better bottom line.
When you need help cultivating inclusive change, The Diversity Movement is ready to help.
Amber Keister is a writer and editor who believes in the power of story to bring people together. Her work has appeared in Cary Magazine, The News & Observer, and other local publications.