On June 16th 2017, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter. Shortly after the verdict was read, Castile’s family, along with countless others expressed their disappointment with the Minneapolis Police Force during a press conference. “The system continues to fail black people,” Castile’s mother cried. “We’re not evolving as a civilization, we’re devolving.”
Since the slaying of George Floyd, another African American who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, I have spent countless hours thinking of the various systems that “continue to fail black people.” Healthcare disparities, systemic racism, educational inequality, and police brutality are some of the few. The recent killings of other African Americans such as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, along with the Covid-19 pandemic that is killing more Americans that carry my skin color, reminds me that we cannot devolve as a civilization. More work must be done.
So how do we evolve? How do we level the system that is heavily tilted against minorities? More than anything, we cannot remain silent and expect a racial equilibrium to form. Fortunately, many of our leaders within the community are speaking up and demanding a change. After the death of George Floyd, many CEOs and leaders have quickly denounced the actions of the police in a public forum which is unprecedented. As a result, others in the community grew the courage to have tough but purposeful dialogue which moves the scale even further towards equality for all.
While leaving the office yesterday, a middle-aged white man approached me and relayed how saddening it was to see such racial injustice in his home state of Minnesota. He went on to say that he is now hopeful, more than ever because so many are speaking out against injustice in the black community and they are demanding a change. “In all my years that I’ve lived in the Twin Cities” he said, “I’ve never seen so many leaders in the community, organizations, and CEOs publicly call out the inequality that exists here.” I left this brief exchange between a stranger of a different racial makeup than my own, ever more hopeful of the years to come. The more we see, recognize, learn, and call out injustice for what it is, the stronger our chances of securing the upper hand to bring about positive change.
At BCforward, one of the largest International Minority Owned Business that is HQ in Indianapolis, our executives have partnered with Universities, nonprofits, and community foundations to help raise awareness to the disparities within the black community. At the same time, BCforward continues to be intentional with their hiring and promoting process, to ensure a diverse staff is reflected across the organization. We recognize that more must be done, and we wish to bring other partners along in this fight. Which leads me to my final thought on dismantling the systems that continue to fail blacks that is, words alone have little effect if we fail to act. We cannot sit idle and expect lip service to bring about change. All organizations, all races, all genders, must do their part to ensure this system is destroyed and all within our community have equitable chances at a better life and a better future.
As much as we would like, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the long list of victims that were failed by the system cannot be brought back to life. All we can do as noble citizens is to work to ensure that no other family member must cry out in sorrows because our civilization did not evolve.
District Branch Manager – Minneapolis