May 25, 2020, was a day we’ll never forget. I remember the pain and heartache I felt learning witnessing the horrific murder of another Black person at the hands of police. On top of the pain that we were already feeling about the global pandemic and the lockdown, it just felt like too much. And I grieved that all of us were living in a world where something like that could happen, could still happen, after all these years and decades of equal rights talk and activism. Unfortunately, talk and activism weren’t enough to save George Floyd’s life — to give him the breath he called out for, the breath taken away from so many others before him.
As I sit here on the anniversary of that tragic day, I realize that the pain that I felt (and am still feeling) is a fraction of the pain felt by George Floyd’s family and friends and the Black community more broadly. While I was horrified, people of color were terrified. As a White woman, I don’t fear for my life when I leave my house. I don’t fear for my life when I drive my car. I don’t fear for my life when I go for a run. I don’t fear for my life as I go about my day doing ordinary things. The fact of the matter is that for people of color, racism and the repeated witnessing of brutality takes a devastating toll that cannot be underestimated and simply cannot be ignored.
Consider what Alisha Moreland-Capuia, executive director of Oregon Health & Science University's Avel Gordly Center for Healing, said in the May 28, 2020 issue of USA Today:
"The emotional and psychological impact of racism means acutely, every day, being reminded that you are not enough, being reminded that you are not seen, being reminded that you are not valued, being reminded that you are not a citizen, being reminded that humanity is not something that applies to you."
This is the heartbreaking reality for Black Americans — and a painful, complicated realization for people from all other racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. We’re all traumatized by George Floyd’s death and what it represents. This became clear in the days and weeks following George Floyd’s death, when I had many conversations with my team about their feelings and their reactions to the news. We were all grieving together. Not only were we grieving for George Floyd and the countless others who have lost their lives similarly, but we were grieving the loss of belief that some of us held that we were further along the equality path than we thought we were. George Floyd’s murder put an end to that for many us. It woke something up in us that made me, for one, want to be a better leader and fight for the rights of others.
At Grokker, we are committed to being a part of the solution. We are committed to bringing representative diversity to all aspects of our company — at the employee level and at the product level — to ensure that the members we serve worldwide see themselves represented and supported by the tools we provide. Additionally, we are committed to providing a platform where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can connect with others through a shared goal for wellbeing.
Today, let us remember George Floyd and let him inspire us to learn, change, and be better for ourselves and one another. And we need to demonstrate empathy and care for all of our employees by supporting their mental health and cultivating a sense of true psychological safety by any and all means necessary. Inclusivity isn’t just a word — it’s a practice. So let’s practice it together.
I will always look back on 2020 as the hardest year in my career because of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd. But I’m using my experience and everything I’ve learned to do what I can to help change the status quo and ensure a fairer world for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or religious belief. We cannot let George Floyd’s death (and those before or after him) be in vain.