|NBMBAA at Nasdaq (Photography by Libby Greene/Nasdaq, Inc.)|
By Bruce Thompson
For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, George Floyd was pinned down with a knee on his neck and unable to breathe. In Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed, the rate of police killings of Blacks is 4 times higher than for Whites. While far from being its only manifestation, this is what racism looks like. It seems we barely have time to grieve one death before another is captured on cellphone video, and we may never learn about countless other invisible atrocities.
Protests have erupted throughout the nation demanding justice and an end to police brutality in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more who human decency and the rule of law have failed. There is a long, tragic history of this failure, which both saddens and outrages. The Jim Crow era, Tulsa Race Massacre and thousands of lynchings exemplify the unpunished reign of lawlessness, terror and death unleashed on Black people. Dealing honestly and effectively with racism remains America’s unfinished business.
While protest has proven to be a critical driver of change, it’s not the only one. The National Black MBA Association® (NBMBAA®) has been a force for change, education and opportunity in America for the past 50 years. Our members have been deeply affected by recent events and are determined to drive the change that’s needed. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of those most recently impacted by racial violence, but we owe these martyrs more. As Dr. King’s words remind us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must redouble our efforts in this moment to forge a more humane and just society.
NBMBAA® joins with the families of the martyrs in calling for national legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. Our national office and local chapters will lead by creating forums and programs focused on anti-racism awareness, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fostering Black opportunity. We call on our business and academic partners, civic, faith and philanthropic leaders, as well as other organizations and people of good will to join with us in committing to the difficult, long-term work of improving racial equity and ensuring greater accountability, especially for those in positions of authority.
It may be unrealistic to think in terms of a “solution” to racism, but let’s work diligently and urgently in assessing and reforming the current state of affairs. Maintaining any semblance of a civil society depends on it.