Updated: May 27
Yesterday was the death anniversary of George Floyd. Three years ago, this was the day that forced everyone to recognize their role in advocating for an equitable future. This was the day we ruled out all those who opposed being a part of the revolution that this country needed. You either spoke out about racial discrimination, or you didn’t - and if you chose no sides, your silence was heard. Those who are privileged enough not to be affected by social injustices have the privilege of choosing silence. While the rest of us have no choice but to fight, challenge outdated patriarchal laws, and lead by example for the following generations. This was also the day most white Americans finally realized they reap the benefits of the years of oppression that granted them their current socioeconomic status.
This movement was an overdue fight against an unjust system and reached communities nationwide to also fight in solidarity. The fight was ugly, but there is beauty in seeing different walks of life across the globe embrace one another through advocacy.
This movement ignited an urge for change and simultaneously evolved how we see inclusion in the workplace.
After George Floyd’s murder, employees demanded company owners, C-suite executives, and senior leaders to speak on behalf of racial discrimination publicly and required a call to action. The George Floyd movement pushed companies to embark on their new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion journeys and allocate funds toward establishing DEI departments. Companies also created Employee Resources Groups to allow a sense of community among peers who face the same socioeconomic disparities as one another. The notion of “psychological safety” also stemmed from employees yearning to feel heard and seen amongst their colleagues. This movement ignited an urge for change and simultaneously evolved how we see inclusion in the workplace. It is unfortunate that demands for justice are at the cost of a tragic event. However, similar to Emmett Till’s death, these tragic events sparked necessary revolutions that made it to our history books. Without Emmett Till, the Civil Rights Movement would have looked detrimentally different. Without George Floyd, DEI departments in the workplace would have looked detrimentally different. There wouldn’t have been a demand for DEI initiatives without George Floyd.
Now that three years have passed, we have to ask companies if they’ve been able to keep that same energy. Due to “DEI fatigue,” the decrease in DEI roles, and economically impacted layoffs, companies are losing their spark. Not to mention Florida’s discriminatory, anti-DEI bills in education that limit the younger generation from learning the truth about the United States history and that this country was founded on indigenous genocide and anti-blackness. It is evident that we are nowhere near the state of equality we’ve been fighting for, which means we need to keep that same energy.
Ethnic minorities are still set up for failure in healthcare, income, housing, and occupational statuses.
Organizations need to reconnect, recommit and remind themselves that the fight is still here and needs its momentum back. Waiting for another tragedy to challenge the unjust system that embodies the United States history doesn't make sense. Ethnic minorities are still set up for failure in healthcare, income, housing, and occupational statuses. Because DEI is no longer prioritized does not mean racial inequities have disappeared.