I am distressed.
I am distressed by what I have seen over the last week with the murder of George Floyd, which is only one of at least 342 persons of color who have been murdered by police over the last five years.
I am distressed that only 1% of these murderers have been punished.
I am distressed that as the son of an immigrant, that the America my father came here for, the freedom he expected to have when stepping on our shores is not a freedom that is afforded to all and in fact, many are systematically oppressed rather than free.
I am distressed at the words that I have seen used by some on social media to describe the killing of George Floyd. Words like irresponsible, unfortunate, and unnecessary. These are words we used for a minor traffic accident, not the killing of an innocent man at the hands of those who swore an oath to protect and to serve.
I am distressed by my colleagues who have posted of their outrage, their indignation, and their disgust at the killing of George Floyd on their personal social medial platforms, and yet have told me that LinkedIn is not the place for such discourse as it is for professional discussion. How can we lead our companies and our businesses if we do not address the disparity, the racial divide, and injustices towards those who are part of our professional community?
I am distressed over those who have attempted to justify the killing of George Floyd and other people of color and explain it away with words like “we do not know the full story” or “there are always two sides”. There is never a “full-story” or “other side” when it comes to injustice and the murder of innocents.
I am distressed that the President of this country continues to label and assault people of color with names like “thugs”. I am distressed that he will use the quotes of known white supremacists in his Tweets and consistently stokes the fires of racial divide and hate.
I am distressed that when I Tweet or post on social media calling the President to a moral standard above racism, I am labeled a liberal, a leftist, a Trump hater. I am distressed at those who do not have the ability to separate their support of a political policy from hate speech and bigotry.
I am distressed
However, what has distressed me most is my silence over the years. What is most bothersome deep in my soul is that I have stood idly by, with nothing more than a Tweet or a Facebook post in years past when other black men were brutally murdered at the hands of white police officers.
It distresses me that as one who was born into white privilege, I did not take the time to engage with my brothers and sisters of color to learn, to explore, to understand, and to weep alongside them.
I will not just stay distressed and will not be silent any longer as I am compelled by the words of the Luthern pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was hung by the Nazis when he said, “Silence in the face of evil is in itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
I will not allow myself to simply stay distressed, I will speak, I will act, I will support, encourage, empathize, love, and stand or kneel with people of color until there are true justice and equality for all.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn on June 1, 2020