Reflecting on race relations in America one year after George Floyd’s murder
May 25, 2021, marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer. His death sparked ongoing protests and a re-examination of racism and policing in the United States.
So now, one year later, are race relations better in the United States?
“The answer is no, but — it’s a no, but,” KIRO Radio’s Gee Scott said. “The reason why things aren’t better is because last year when this all happened and it took place, all the conversations were starting to be had, the uncomfortable conversations were being had during that time and we were talking about them. And so there was this — companies and organizations and communities and neighborhoods were acting and talking about things.”
“But then in 2020, we were also still facing something that was probably the biggest thing we’ve ever faced in our life, which was COVID, right? We lost jobs, businesses closed down, people couldn’t see their families. And so because of that, the actions, the real actions, weren’t able to be made,” he added.
Without being able to come together in person, either in personal or professional settings, Gee says it was difficult to actually act on any of the discussions being had.
“I hear what you’re saying, but I also disagree,” Ursula Reutin replied. “I think that there was more of a chance because we had to stop. Because we had to stop and reflect, there was more of a chance, and I think it worked for a couple of months.”
Ursula believes that some people felt like it went overboard, or negatively associated the efforts in support of Black Lives Matter with the protests “that in some cases turned to riots and turned destructive.”
“I think too many people started losing interest and lumping it all together and saying, ‘well, I’m done,'” she said. “… I think that the idea that it’s going to be a linear thing is never going to happen. It’s going to be like two steps forward, one step back.”
Gee points out that in 2020, due to the pandemic, the main place to communicate was social media, but that’s a place where it’s easy for people to be comfortable. But it’s out of your comfort level where he says the real work takes place.
“When you’re outside of your bubble, that’s when true change happens in our country,” Gee said.
St. James Cathedral in Seattle is hosting a public prayer vigil for George Floyd at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and anyone is welcome. The church says the event is about prayer, healing, and action for racial solidarity.
There is also a march and vigil at Jimi Hendrix Park at 7 p.m. in memory of Floyd and other victims of police brutality.
Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.