This is from a poem by Warsan Shire:
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
Once upon a time in March we had a pandemic and it was terrible and we all united -- until we started to unravel and some people felt entitled; that rules of behavior don't apply to their freedom; and not wearing a mask and demanding haircuts and manicures became political rhetoric.
We could handle that. We could hold those people whose behavior put others at risk accountable. We were all in the pandemic together.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, an on-duty police officer in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are ways to soften this, to make it palatable to people who don't want to believe that the police force in America may have a systemic racism problem. We can call it manslaughter. We can call it an accident. But those are political ways of minimizing and mitigating the truly horrendous violence perpetrated against George Floyd, against George Floyd's family, and against Black and Brown Americans across this country.
But we're adults. We can call a thing what it is. And this was a murder. And our country is the worse for it.
insideARM condemns, in the strongest terms, the murder of George Floyd and the harmful actions against the protesters, who are using their Constitutional right to assemble together. We also strongly condemn the violence against marginalized communities that is baked into the American Way of Life. We certainly do not condone such activity at insideARM; we are hopeful that others feel that way, too.
Our politics may not align. However, we're an industry that touches the lives of many Americans -- documented, undocumented, working, not working, well-off, and poor, and every skin tone and race in this country. And each deserves the dignity of a life lived without daily physical fear from the systems in the country they live in. And our systems -- our police system, our carceral system, our welfare systems, our financial systems -- are all deeply affected by systemic racism and violence against marginalized communities.
But there are things that bring us hope: Seeing the many, many people taking to the streets to protest the murder of an American citizen not by another citizen, but by a police officer, whose duty is to protect and serve, is very hopeful -- especially during a pandemic, where gathering together in crowds is not without significant risk. The conversations that are happening in call centers with employees across the nation, about inclusivity and diversity and respect are also heartening and so incredibly necessary. And finally: the fact that all four officers were fired and are being held accountable is the right moral and legal consequence for their behavior. Right, and moral, because all four men deserve their day in court, with counsel representing them, so we can get close to understanding the roots of this terrible tragedy.
George Floyd deserved a day in court, too.
insideARM is a media agency, focusing on the collection industry, and maybe you feel we shouldn't have an opinion about something this disruptive, painful, and damaging. I wish we could change your mind. insideARM is not only a media agency, we're human beings. We have all been deeply affected by this latest act of violence, and it felt very important to make our position clear not only to the industry, but to anyone who reads our words.
We would like to leave you, finally, with this poem by lucille clifton. It is our sincere hope that out of this criminal and meaningless act of supreme violence -- the murder of another human being by a person in authority -- we can begin to fix what is broken and heal over.
Let There Be New Flowering
let there be new flowering
in the fields let the fields
turn mellow for the men
let the men keep tender
through the time let the time
be wrested from the war
let the war be won
let love be
at the end