This Is a Crossroads

By On Influence and Influencers Archives
Cover image for  article: This Is a Crossroads

George Floyd was murdered at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25th, 2020. He was 46 years old, and it took nine minutes and 29 seconds for officer Derek Chauvin to end his life. Three fellow police officers, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, stood by and watched Chauvin take Floyd's life. On April 20th, 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd's death. Everything written before this moment is a fact. They are a collection of dates and times meant to convey meaning in what is ultimately meaningless. George Floyd is dead. Murdered by the State and ever since, we are asked to make sense of the senseless. To again, make meaning where there is none. This is a crossroads.

To exist in linear time is a privilege that exists to some but is tantalizing elusive to others. America lives in linear time. America lumbers from one moment to another, clumsy and disconnected. America is aided (or hindered) by willful amnesia and the adherence of a petulant child to the mythology of exalted virtue. Within that linear timeline, George Floyd was murdered, and within that linear time, we are asked to reflect on what his death means. George Floyd does not exist in linear time but somewhere outside of it. He is woven into the fabric of those who came before him: Eleanor Bumpers, Michael Stewart, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and Breonna Taylor. He is a cautionary tale to Black bodies in the future. You exist at your own peril. What lessons are meant to be learned from the murder of George Floyd are swiftly swept aside. They are conveniently laid to rest with the victims. This is a crossroads.

There has been no reckoning. There has been no justice. There have been no responses adequate to meet the moment. These words offer no comfort. There is no before or after George Floyd -- there merely is. The "is" of knowing there will be new names to learn and new marches to attend. The "is" of the inevitability of senseless violence. These words offer no comfort because comfort isn't needed in a moment of crisis. There is no comfort when voter suppression is further entrenched around the country. Last summer, the streets roiled with social unrest. Corporations responded with flowery statements calling for change, and a thousand hashtags were launched. This summer, any potential protestors will be met with an unprecedented assault on their rights and civil liberties across America. This is a crossroads.

A year later and we face more questions. The ink is dry on the corporate promises, and now we are only left with accountability or disappointment. Will the pledges to honestly confront systemic racism be kept, or will they become part of that other fabric we have known all too well? The fabric of broken promises, half measures, and missed opportunities. Who among us will step away from the crossroads and live a different future? If we are to make anything lasting of George Floyd's murder, it will not come from looking backward over this past year. We can only look forward and hold each other to the highest account possible. This is a crossroads. But can it be more?

Photo credit: Logan Weaver / Unsplash

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