ALEXANDRIA, VA-The Alexandria Black history Museum‘s director Audrey Davis, on the one-year anniversary George Floyd’s murder, has released a statement. It appears in full below:
The Legacy of George Floyd – One Year Later
Spring 2020 was a time of fear. Everyone was terrified of Covid-19 and the many unknowns about the virus. How did it spread? What were the symptoms? How could we could keep our loved ones safe?
Then on May 25, while quarantined in our homes, we witnessed the murder of an African American man named George Floyd on the evening news, and we watched it repeatedly. For many Americans, emotions moved from fear to anger. How could a man making an everyday transaction at a local convenience store end up dead? Unfortunately, Black deaths over transgressions like this one were not new to the African American community, but this time other Americans saw it and could not turn away. Anger turned to activism, and communities around the world took to the streets.
The national and international attention to George Floyd’s murder made us hope that his death would not be in vain and that true systemic change would occur. Sadly, since Floyd’s death, more senseless deaths have occurred.
Yes, there have been changes – Diversity and inclusion training are being taught in universities and the American workplace, some racists are being held accountable, corporations have promised new more transparent hiring procedures that would add African Americans to leadership positions, TV shows and advertisers have hired people of color in record numbers and The Oscars are not quite so #OscarsSoWhite anymore. All of this is meaningful, but it must be more than a quick fix. Everyone needs an ally, but being a true ally goes deeper than the protests. To be a real ally, you need to be there for the hard work, the messy work, and the unpleasant conversations about race and racism. You need to turn the mirror inward and make the personal changes that will help make your community a better place.
Everyone has the power to effect change and fight inequality. The two most important things a person can do is to understand American race history and Speak Truth to Power. By understanding America’s history of racial hate crimes and the pervasiveness of systemic racism people can call out injustice when witnessing it.
The Alexandria Black History Museum and Historic Alexandria are committed to witnessing and telling this history and Alexandria’s place within it. Over the last year, ABHM has been collecting donations from the community to document the activism that happened in the City and the surrounding area. Named as the Black Lives Remembered Collection, these items help to capture this moment in Alexandria’s history for the future. To coincide with the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, the Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM) is launching a virtual exhibition called Preserving Their Names available at alexandriava.gov/PreservingTheirNames.pdf. The online exhibit features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection. It documents some of the public and personal ways the local community responded to the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Preserving Their Names uses donated objects, digital photographs, artwork, poetry, and prose to document the public response at vigils, marches and through the vast array of signs and messaging that appeared across the area. It also shares the intimate, personal thoughts of the lives impacted by this national event in their own words.
If you want to become part of social justice initiatives, join the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) which is committed to educating Alexandria citizens about the city’s history of racial terror hate crimes. Visit alexandriava.gov/Historic for more details.