Eight minutes, 46 seconds. According to prosecutors, that’s the amount of time that George Floyd was pinned by the neck under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee. When I saw the video footage, like so many others across the United States, I was enraged, saddened, and deeply disturbed.
Since then, the memory of George Floyd has become a symbol of something insidious that has functioned, sometimes quietly and many times flagrantly, throughout much of our history: systemic and institutional racism.
As so many across the nation rally for justice and change, now is not a time to be silent. We must condemn injustice, put an end to racism, and take concrete steps toward an equitable future. Violence and anarchy are not the answer. We must listen and respond to what is at the core of the protests we are seeing—the pain and anger of broken communities.
At The Markens Group, community is at our core. As an association management company, we work with passionate volunteers who lead communities of interest day in and day out. Communities and the people that make them up are crucial to our very being, and it hurts to see fissure and inequity within them. We stand against racism, violence, and discrimination of any kind.
For me, some of the answers to these problems include equal justice for all citizens, prison reform, banning chokeholds and creating strict standards for the use of force, protecting journalists who are doing their jobs, and providing adequate training and counseling for police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities. The full solution is much more complex and holistic, including a painstaking look at access to health care, education, housing, food, clean water, economic and financial resources, protecting the planet, and more. I accept that others will have different outlooks and welcome thoughtful conversations about this.
As a company, The Markens Group will continue to do our part to serve our communities and have open dialogue about how we can all do better. I hope that our nation will use this time and beyond to confront uncomfortable truths, grow community, and work toward an equitable future.
President, The Markens Group