LINK Responds to the Death of George Floyd
By Jonathan T. Swain, President & CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars
LINK Unlimited Scholars Community,
The past week has been one of the most emotional weeks in recent memory. Racism has been a part of our country since its founding and its ugliness has never been completely addressed. There have been times when racism felt comfortable out in the open but ran away when forcibly challenged. Other times it lurked in the shadows or worse hid in plain sight.
The COVID – 19 pandemic forced all of us to assess and evaluate what was important. It illuminated massive health disparities and education gaps both a result of race and class inequality. But the one thing COVID couldn’t do is fully expose the depth of racial injustice in America. COVID was the accelerant, but the murder of George Floyd was the wick that lit the powder keg of racial frustration in our country.
His treatment at the hand of law enforcement is the latest in a long line that can be traced back to the brutal beating of Rodney King in 1992. However, frustration in the black community long preceded that, and it is the decades upon decades of injustice whose effects have been passed down from generation to generation that drive the protests and civil unrest we are witnessing today.
Many will say protesting and civil disobedience are permissible, but looting and criminal activity mar the purity of Mr. Floyd’s martyrdom. As one who has been personally affected by looters and vandals this weekend, the aforementioned people are missing the point.
Protests, civil disobedience, looting, and crimes of opportunity find their roots in the aforementioned decades of inequity. If schools were equally as strong, homeownership equally accessible and access to capital equally available generations ago, we wouldn’t be at this moment today. We lose the purity of Mr. Floyd’s death when we focus our attention on how frustration is communicated and not eliminating its cause.
LINK Unlimited Scholars was founded during a similar period in the 1960s and grew in response to the death of Dr. King and subsequent unrest. We have been and will continue to serve as a gathering point for all people of goodwill who believe the color of one’s skin should not place limits on their opportunity. We remain steadfast, eradicating barriers to economic opportunity through education for our students.
May we all become truly together as one.
Jonathan T. Swain, President & CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars