Rise from the Ashes – One person – Dead or Alive – can make a difference

Go Lean Commentary

The death of George Floyd is changing the world.

While this is an American drama, the reverberations of an innocent Black Man being killed by a White Police Officer – again – is causing a reflection and reconciliation of race relations around the world.

George Floyd is not the first … and not the last. So why is this time, this instance, so different compared to other instances?

Answer: Coronavirus – COVID-19.

Thanks to the Coronavirus – COVID-19 crisis, the world is shuttered, sheltering-in-place and reflecting …
… and reconciling …
… and realizing …
… that there are blatant injustices that are tied to racial differences. It is unavoidable; the reflection is bringing the long-past-due reckoning to this drama.

This Coronavirus – COVID-19-forced reboot and protests for social justice, civil rights and police accountability remind us of the Phoenix mythology; that from the ashes of the old society, a new creation can emerge.

This is the continuation of the June 2020 Teaching Series from the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean; this is entry 2 of 6. This movement presents a Teaching Series every month on a subject that is germane to Caribbean life. Our focus this month is on Rising from the Ashes. The social justice protests from the George Floyd killing is timely; this demonstrates that one person – Dead or Alive – can make a difference.

R.I.P. George Floyd; see the encyclopedic details in the Appendix below.

The full catalog for this month’s series is listed as follows:

  1. Rising from the Ashes – The Phoenix rises from the Pandemic
  2. Rising from the Ashes – One person – Dead or Alive – can make a difference
  3. Rising from the AshesNatural Disasters – The Price of Paradise
  4. Rising from the Ashes – Political Revolutions – Calling Balls and Strikes
  5. Rising from the Ashes – War – “What is it good for?”
  6. Rising from the Ashes – Wrong Ethos could also rise – Cautionary tale of patriotic German Jews

There are no Ands, Ifs or Buts; much of the world’s racial orthodoxy is “burning down” right now. There is a desire to shed the defective institutions and practices in the eco-systems for justice. This is not just an American concern, as many of the organized protests have occurred or is occurring in other countries, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

So one person has spurred all of this reflection. George Floyd was not a willing advocate; he was just a victim, but one too many:

  • The straw that break the camel’s back – See Appendix VIDEO below.
  • It is the last feather that breaks the horse’s back [3]
  • The final terrible thing that makes a situation unbearable
  • The last drop makes the cup run over
  • “Getting on my last nerve”

George Floyd did not try to effect change in his homeland; he was not an activist nor an advocate.

Yet, in death, he is responsible for a lot of changes. This one man is causing the US – and other countries, think the UK – to reform and transform. As depicted in the following article, from the iconic Economist Magazine, Floyd’s big contribution is inspiration – “his death has inspired protests abroad, from Brazil to Indonesia, and France to Australia. His legacy is the rich the promise of social reform. It is too precious to waste”:

Title: The power of protest and the legacy of George Floyd
Don’t waste a rich chance for social reform
Column:  Race and social change
George Floyd was not famous. He was killed not in the capital of the United States, but on a street corner in its 46th-largest city. Yet in death he has suddenly become the keystone of a movement that has seized all of America. Still more remarkably, he has inspired protests abroad, from Brazil to Indonesia, and France to Australia. His legacy is the rich promise of social reform. It is too precious to waste.

The focus is rightly on America (see article). The protests there, in big cities and tiny towns far from the coasts, may be the most widespread in the country’s long history of marching. After an outburst of rage following Mr Floyd’s death, the demonstrations have, as we hoped last week, been overwhelmingly peaceful. They have drawn in ordinary Americans of all races. That has confounded those who, like President Donald Trump, thought they could be exploited to forge an electoral strategy based on the threat of anarchy. What began as a protest against police violence against African-Americans has led to an examination of racism in all its forms.

The marches outside America are harder to define (see article). In Mexico and South Africa the target is mainly police violence. In Brazil, where three-quarters of the 6,220 people killed by police in 2018 were black, race is a factor too. Australians are talking about the treatment of aboriginals. Some Europeans, used to condemning America over race, are realising that they have a problem closer to home. Angela Merkel has asked Germans to take the chance to “sweep outside their own front doors”. Several countries are agonising over public monuments (see leader).

It is hard to know why the spark caught today and not before. Nobody marched in Paris in 2014 after Eric Garner was filmed being choked to death by officers on Staten Island—then again, hardly anyone marched in New York, either. Perhaps the sheer ubiquity of social media means that enough people have this time been confronted with the evidence of their own eyes. The pandemic has surely played a part, by cooping people up and creating a shared experience, even as it has nonetheless singled out racial minorities for infection and hardship (see Lexington).

The scale of the protests has something to do with Mr Trump, too. When Mr Garner was killed, America had a president who could bring together the nation at moments of racial tension, and a Justice Department that baby-sat recalcitrant police departments. Today they have a man who sets out to sow division.

But most fundamentally, and most happily, the protest reflects a rising rejection of racism itself. The share of Americans who see racial discrimination in their country as a big problem has risen from 51% in January 2015 to 76% now. A YouGov poll last week found that 52% of Britons think British society is fairly or very racist, a big rise from similar polls in the past. In 2018, 77% of the French thought France needed to fight racism, up from 59% in 2002. Pew Research found last year that in most countries healthy majorities welcome racial diversity.

America is both a country and an idea. When the two do not match, non-Americans notice more than when an injustice is perpetrated in, say, Mexico or Russia. And wrapped up in that idea of America is a conviction that progress is possible.

It is already happening, in three ways. It starts with policing, where some states and cities have already banned chokeholds and where Democratic politicians seem ready to take on the police unions. On June 8th Democrats in the House of Representatives put forward a bill that would, among other things, make it easier to prosecute police and limit the transfer of armour and weapons from the Pentagon to police departments. Congressional Republicans, who might have been expected to back the police, are working on a reform of their own. Although the general call for “defunding” risks a backlash, the details of redirecting part of the police budget to arms of local government, such as housing or mental health, may make sense.

There is also a recognition that broader change is needed from local and federal government. The median household net wealth of African-Americans is $18,000, a tenth of the wealth of white Americans. The ratio has not changed since 1990 (see Free exchange). An important cause of this is that many African-Americans are stuck in the racially monolithic neighbourhoods where their grandparents were allowed to settle at a safe distance from whites. Houses in these places are very cheap.

This separation helps explain why inequality endures in schooling, policing and health. The government has a role in reducing it. Federal spending worth $22.6bn already goes on housing vouchers. Schemes to give poor Americans a choice over where they live have Republican and Democratic backing in Congress. With better schools and less crime, segregated districts become gentrified, leaving them more racially mixed.

Business is waking up to the fact that it has a part, too, and not just in America (see article). The place where people mix most is at work. However, just four Fortune 500 firms have black chief executives and only 3% of senior American managers are black. No wonder anxious ceos have been queuing up to pledge that they will do better.

Firms have an incentive to change. Research suggests that racial diversity is linked to higher profit margins and that the effect is growing—though it is hard to be certain which comes first, diversity or performance. It has also become clear that a vocal share of employees and customers will shun companies that do not deal with racism. Platitudinous mission statements are unlikely to provide much protection. A first step is to monitor diversity at all levels of recruitment and promotion, as do Goldman Sachs and Intel—hardly known for being sentimental.

Large-scale social change is hard. Protest movements have a habit of antagonising the moderate supporters they need to succeed. Countries where the impulse for change is not harnessed to specific reforms will find that it dissipates. Yet anyone who thinks racism is too difficult to tackle might recall that just six years before George Floyd was born, interracial marriage was still illegal in 16 American states. Today about 90% of Americans support it. When enough citizens march against an injustice, they can prevail. That is the power of protest. ■

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “The power of protest”

Source: Posted June 13, 2020; retrieved June 23, 2020 from: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/06/11/the-power-of-protest-and-the-legacy-of-george-floyd

George Floyd has become a martyr!

The Go Lean book posits that one person – an advocate or an inspiration from a martyr like George Floyd – can make a difference (Page 122). It relates:

An advocacy is an act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending a cause or subject. For this book, it’s a situational analysis, strategy or tactic for dealing with a narrowly defined subject.

Advocacies are not uncommon in modern history. There are many that have defined generations and personalities. Consider these notable examples from the last two centuries in different locales around the world:

  • Frederick Douglas
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Martin Luther King
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Cesar Chavez
  • Candice Lightner

The Go Lean movement calls on every individual in the Caribbean to be an advocate themselves, and to appreciate the efforts of previous advocates. While we do not want George Floyd’s in our Caribbean communities – we want to be better with Cop on Black interactions – we do want our citizens to inspire each other to be better. This has been a consistent theme in many previous Go Lean blog-commentaries; consider this sample that depicts certain advocates and role models – Dead or Alive – and their achievements:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=19391 Chef Jose Andres – A Hero for “One Meal at a Time”
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16944 Women Empowerment – Accepting Black Women ‘As Is’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16940 We need Sheroes Too!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14558 A Role Model of Being the Change – Linda Brown, RIP
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14541 Viola Desmond – One Woman Made a Difference
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14139 Carter Woodson – One Man Made a Difference … for Black History
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13816 We Need Heroes!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12542 Dr. Thomas W. Mason – Role Model, Professor & STEM Influencer – RIP
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10449 Patriarch of an ’empowering’ family – Mike Ilitch dies; RIP
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7619 Sidney Poitier changed cinema by demanding and deserving a difference
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5506 Role Model: Edward Snowden – One Person Making a Difference
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3490 How One Entrepreneur Can Rally a Whole Community
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1909 A Role Model for Music: Berry Gordy – No Town Like Motown
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1037 Humanities Advocate – Maya Angelou – R.I.P.

Individuals – and institutions – who make a difference, who reject the status quo and force change, could be likened to rising from the ashes, Just like the Phoenix Bird, there is the need to rebuild, reboot, repent and reconciled.

There are champions out there who have emerged for transforming society … in many walks of life. If we all show some patience, endurance and perseverance, we too can have an impact of our community. Many lessons have emerged from this George Floyd incident.

We needed patience, endurance and perseverance before Coronavirus-COVID-19 crisis; and we will need them even more now. Lastly we will need to double-down on these qualities to rise from the ashes further.

This is the quest of the Go Lean roadmap. Let’s lean-in to this roadmap to reboot and turn-around the Caribbean homeland. As protesters are expressing now in Minnesota and other cities in the USA and around the world, we have to simply ‘burn down” the old bad orthodoxy. This is how to make the Caribbean a better homeland to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Appendix Reference – George Floyd

George Perry Floyd Jr. (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was an African-American man killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After his death, protests against police violence toward black people quickly spread across the United States and internationally.

Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas. He played football and basketball throughout high school and college. A blue-collar worker, he was also a hip hop artist and a mentor in his religious community. Between 1997 and 2005, he was convicted of eight crimes; in 2009, he accepted a plea bargain for a 2007 aggravated robbery, serving four years in prison.[2]

In 2014, he moved to the Minneapolis area, finding work as a truck driver and a bouncer. In 2020, he lost his security job during the COVID-19 pandemic. He died while being arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes; Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes.[nb 1]

After Floyd’s death, protests were held globally against the use of excessive force by police officers against black suspects and lack of police accountability. Protests began in Minneapolis the day after his death and developed in over 400 cities throughout all 50 U.S. states and internationally.[49][50]

Memorials and legacy
Several memorial services were held. On June 4, 2020, a memorial service for Floyd took place in Minneapolis with Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy.[13][51] Services were planned in North Carolina with a public viewing and private service on June 6 and in Houston on June 8 and 9.[52] Floyd was buried next to his mother in Pearland, Texas.[53][54][55]

Colleges and universities which have created scholarships in Floyd’s name include North Central University (which hosted a memorial service for Floyd),[56][57] Alabama StateOakwood University,[58][59] Missouri State UniversitySoutheast Missouri StateOhio University,[60][61][62] Buffalo State CollegeCopper Mountain College,[63][64] and others.[65] Amid nationwide protests over Floyd’s killing, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin made a $ 120 million donation to be split equally among Morehouse CollegeSpelman College and the United Negro College Fund.[66] The donation was the largest ever made to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.[67]

Street artists globally created murals honoring Floyd. Depictions included Floyd as a ghost in Minneapolis, as an angel in Houston and as a saint weeping blood in Naples. A mural on the International Wall in Belfast commissioned by Festival of the People (Féile an Phobail) and Visit West Belfast (Fáilte Feirste Thiar) features a large portrait of Floyd above a tableau showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while the three other officers turn their backs and each covers his eyes, ears, or mouth in the manner of the Three Wise Monkeys (“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”).[68][69][70] By June 6, murals had been created in many cities, including Manchester, Dallas, Miami, Idlib, Los Angeles, Nairobi, OaklandStrombeek-Bever, Berlin, Pensacola, and La Mesa.[71][72]

A bill proposed by US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, was designed to reduce police brutality and establish national policing standards and accreditations.[73][74]

The length of time that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, eight minutes forty-six seconds, was widely commemorated as a “moment of silence” to honor Floyd.[75][76]

The Economist, which made Floyd its June 13 cover story, said that “His legacy is the rich promise of social reform.”[77]

Source: Retrieved June 23, 2020 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Floyd


Appendix VIDEO – The Straw that broke the Camel’s Back | Funny Animation – https://youtu.be/YFtP2XPLd4Q


Posted Aug 9, 2019 – Made with OpenToonz! The Straw that broke the Camel’s Back | Funny Animation

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