I Want to Start a Movement: How to Honor George Floyd
Unlike Rosa Parks, George Floyd did not set out in the morning to make a statement. He was just going about his day when something terrible happened, and someone held him down until he died. How can that be?
My mind went back in time to the late 80s, when my boss, Ed and I went to New Jersey to meet with people who had developed training called “basket holds.” This was an approach that you could use if a client aggressed toward you that would keep you both from getting hurt, and also not kill the person you were trying to restrain. During that era in our field, people were held down on the floor, face down, and the pressure that was applied was too much and ended up killing some of the people we were supporting. The idea was to only hold them down until they were calm. The idea was to control the person with a disability who was being aggressive, and some thought it was simply ‘unfortunate’ that occasionally the person died.
The theme in both of these instances is control — taking power over another human being. The other theme, which is even more heartbreaking, is that there are people who have decided that some humans are not as important or not as valuable as others. That perception and the actions it produces can never be justified; they are criminal. These are actions that require not only punishment, but more education, empathy, and leadership.
At KenCrest and throughout our society, we need to renew our commitment and understanding that “differences” — no matter what they are — are not an excuse to take control over another human being. If we really want to honor George, we need to make a commitment to do our part, and to truly believe that every person is created equal. We need to ensure that we are doing our due diligence to identify and call out toxic beliefs that isolate and cause us to discriminate against other human beings. As I look around, I know we have some work to do, and George and all the many victims of this world deserve the investment.