Remembering George Floyd after 2 years

Posted by Natasha Martin, JD, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 12:14 PM PDT

Dear Campus Community:

We extend an invitation in honor of the memory of George Floyd whose murder two years ago today catapulted a national awakening to the legacy of racial injustice. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we invite you to --Remember... Resist... Recommit.

Remember so we don’t allow ourselves to forget the humanity of a man whose life was brutally snuffed out as the world watched together – an inhumane taking by another who pressed knee on neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We honor the lives of the ten people lost in the mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14, who were targeted precisely because they were Black -- the majority of whom were elders in the community shopping in their neighborhood’s only supermarket.

We remember and grieve the lives lost -- from George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others -- from the northeast in Buffalo, NY, to the southeast in Atlanta, GA, to south in Dallas, TX, to the far west in Laguna Woods, CA, and in communities near and far. This alarming pattern of racial terror in places like Buffalo and Laguna Woods reminds us that engaging in the most basic of human activities is an unfathomable risk for Black and brown people across the country. These tragedies offer searing reminders of the distance yet to be traveled to reconcile the harms of the past and their continuing legacy in our current times.

Resist apathy toward ongoing acts of racially-motivated violence and resist hopelessness that change can happen. Sometimes we must dig deep into our wells to find hope. As civil rights lawyer and founder of Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, has oft reflected, “Hopelessness is the enemy of justice,” and reminds us that “Hope is our superpower.” As we hold the pain that remains from the many racially-motivated killings of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian people and other bigoted and hateful acts against other marginalized people and communities, let us also lean into the hope that can sustain us for the journey toward justice.   

Recommit to channel the pain, righteous anger, and resolve toward a future of thriving – without fear of racial terror and violence fueled by beliefs in white supremacy or other bigoted ideologies. This racialized violence in many forms is everyone’s burden to carry as it corrodes the essence of human dignity, civil society, and democracy. Recommit to a process of truth-seeking and truth-telling to ourselves and others. 

Hope for a better tomorrow requires action today, and at Seattle University we are Reigniting our efforts to educate and empower whole people to create a more just and humane world.

A year ago, we gathered virtually as a professional learning community to share in SU’s inaugural Racial Equity Summit offering solace, storytelling, and demonstrating in action the promise of working toward beloved community for the good of our students. Let’s keep the spirit alive during these times that get more difficult with each passing news cycle. As we aim to LIFT SU  by learning, growing, and co-creating, let us listen and offer grace to ourselves and one another.

In Solidarity,

Eduardo Peñalver
President

Natasha Martin
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion