3 years ago today, George Floyd, a Black man, a father, and a son opened our eyes and pushed corporations from the sidelines into the fight for social justice. He will never know it, but this is the impact his life left on our nation.
3 years later, I imagine his family would like to be remembering their precious moments and lived experiences with their loved one. Perhaps that’s being interrupted by the rest of the world recalling his final 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Today I’ve read several posts similar to mine, with similar titles… “Remembering George Floyd…” I spent most of the day considering how I would (if I could) say something different to add to the dialogue. Most of the posts I read started with George’s end of life, as that’s what today marks, but it also marks so much more than just a death date. So I’ve decidedly, and intentionally, brought something different before your eyes.
It has got to do something to our psyche as Black people to be continuously bombarded with messages of death. To be reminded constantly, that we do not belong. That we should live in fear of a system built to capture and enslave us. It’s certainly not a very optimistic outlook, but neither are the odds.
Black Americans make up only 13% of the population but 38% of people in prison or jail are Black.
These statistics have been shared over and over again and alone have not been enough to spark change… The numbers weren’t enough to move people to action.
In fact, I’d argue that appealing to our senses has been the only way Black people have been able to ever garner support for Black lives. We demonstrated to negotiate and historically protests have been mildly, but notably, successful in influencing policy change.
Much like my cousin Emmett Till’s image on the cover of Jet Magazine, film footage of George Floyd worked to appeal to the hearts of individuals.
Unfortunately, what those two examples (and many others) have shown us, is that those who wish to create equitable systems in society cannot solely rely on appealing to the good nature of others as our only strategy for lasting change.
DEI practitioners were some of the first to point this out and with the help of their skills and expertise, many businesses began to acknowledge their corporate social responsibility in the following months of George Floyd’s murder. It’s undeniable that his death marked a milestone in the field of DEI because after people took to the streets to protest his murder, the hiring of DEI officers increased by 55%.
Now, 3 years later, those same businesses that formulated anti-racist statements, launched ERGs, facilitated identity-based dialogue, and developed strategic diversity plans, have now doubled down on their reasons to layoff those same DEI practitioners. I’m calling it a DEI Officer Dropoff.
How quickly it’s been forgotten that the Black community is in pain and that there are Black employees who are experiencing death by a thousand papercuts every day. That mattered to someone in senior leadership 3 years ago. I’m wondering, when did that change??? If George Floyd’s death marked a societal pivot toward embracing equity, then one has to ask, what is causing the reversal 3 years later. Keep looking for that answer because there lies the root of where we made a wrong left turn somewhere.
So it’s my belief that when we take any time to remember George Floyd, not just on this day, we don’t just consider his final 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Remember the life he lived and the legacy of DEI work he inspired. Renew your commitment to a field that is currently under attack and be vocal about staying the course toward justice.
Not sure what you should be focusing on in your business as it relates to DEI? Take my DEI Assessment. I’ll give you some advice once I know more about your business.
I love a good ICYMI and so I thought it only fitting that this week’s Stack The Deck be dedicated to my favorite moments from the last weeks that you may have missed if you aren’t connected to me personally on LinkedIn. (Let’s connect now!)
I launched Platform to Justice. Platform to Justice is an 8-week training program designed to equip social justice organizations with the crucial training, mentorship, knowledge, and skills needed to scale their justice efforts.
I held a FREE Live class called Systems & Operations for Foundations. It was a session jam-packed with gems and all my best systems insight from being a Digital Business Manager. You can purchase the replay and workbook in my shop now. The class received lots of great feedback. Here’s some love from our students:
“I truly thank you because it’s hard trying to run an organization/foundation and you’re the one that’s been impacted. What you did today, you gave me strength.” – Alicia
“Thanks, Ambi Renee for sharing this gift of love! The workshop was inspirational and full of wonderful information.” – Elaine
“You are answering so many questions for me thank you, Queen. Very informative thank you so much you’re doing great work” – Marquell
The Tampa 5 need our support after protesting the ban on DEI degree programs at my alma mater, The University of South Florida. They could face up to 10+ years in prison. Demand that the felony charges be dropped!
- I help my clients meet the global demands of business and address the challenges that come along with changing demographics, differing points of view, and workplace fairness.
- I’m a Fractional Chief Diversity Officer who is a certified Digital Business Manager and Certified Diversity Executive.
- I am a cousin of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley. I use my platform to tell my truth and promote racial reconciliation.
- I’m looking for opportunities to speak about race and racial equity in the workplace this year.
- ❓Run a podcast? Want a guest blog?
- Give me a shout: email@example.com