Posted June 4, 2020
Today is the Memorial Service to honor the life of George Floyd and to remember the lives of all of those who have died at the hands of police brutality brought on by systemic racism. This is also a day to recommit to ourselves and to each other that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others whose names we will never know did not die in vain. The brutality they faced at the hands of those who have sworn to serve and protect is all too emblematic of the consistent erasing of humanity that African Americans confront every day. Combatting racism cannot be partisan, parsed for comfort or dismissed as a part of the past. Let today’s service be – not another, but a final – call to America that change must happen now and that these incidents cannot be filed away as just another abuse of power that will be soon forgotten.
Over the last several months we have watched as this horrible COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately ravaged communities of color. SKDK teams have been supporting healthcare workers and caregivers as the pandemic raged and we have seen, up close, how the majority of those who have died from COVID-19 have been people of color who have had the least access to consistent, affordable healthcare. Make no mistake, by allowing this we, as Americans, are saying some lives matter more than others.
We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protests across all 50 states by people of good will and determination. And we stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues at SKDK for the incredible pain, anger and frustration they and their families are experiencing right now. We are proud of them and our team members who have marched in allegiance against racial injustice.
White Americans, including our allies, must open their eyes to the hard truth that Black Americans live with every day: Racism permeates every aspect of our society. There are no safe spaces, and destroying this disease is the only way this country will realize its true greatness.
When President Trump, who regularly traffics in racism and bigotry, encourages violence and the use of force against peaceful demonstrators we know we have a painfully long way to go in this country for justice, opportunity and equality.
SKDK has been serving clients in the social services, criminal justice and policing reform space for years. But we must do more and are committed to doing more as a firm. We counsel our clients not to make empty promises in defining moments. And neither will we.
We pledge to re-dedicate ourselves with our resources and skills to be of service to the causes and leaders who will help rid our country of the systemic racism that denies dignity to those most deserving.
We pledge to work harder to change the elected leadership of this country and to assure that a new President has allies to help him implement systemic change where only governments can act.
We pledge to every member of the SKDK family that we’ve got their backs during this incredibly difficult and challenging time. But more than that, we reaffirm our commitment to nurturing an equitable environment where people are not just present but belong. May the memory of George Floyd be what drives our thoughts and prayers today and may the promise of a better future be what drives our actions tomorrow and forward.