Reflecting on the Tragic Death of George Floyd: One Year Later

Reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Cadre's CEO Ryan Williams shared his thoughts with the Cadre team on the progress we've made and the challenges that lie ahead. His note was featured in The New York Times' DealBook.

Published on May 25, 2021
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Team - good morning. As a follow-up to the note I sent last week and our discussion at all-hands yesterday, I wanted to share reflections as we mark the one-year memorial of the tragic death of George Floyd. In the aftermath of his death and the protests that followed, I think we can all agree that there has been more needed discussion, and action to address the underlying deep seated roots of social and economic injustice that have made scenes like we all witnessed a year ago all too common.

As I witnessed and experienced the protests in Manhattan’s Union Square following George Floyd’s murder, I was inspired by the profound sense of purpose among those massive and diverse crowds.  Yes, there was anger and heartbreak, but most of all there was determination.  In an age where news moves at lightning speed and attention spans are short, it felt like we were grabbing hold of time and history and refusing to let it creep forward without forcing the reckoning we so desperately need.

And while it has been a trying year, I do not believe George Floyd died in vain - in fact I believe that his death illuminated how much work we all need to and can do to help speak up and act for the overall betterment of those who have been marginalized. It illuminated that there are many groups across our country who have been  marginalized, attacked and forgotten. And I do believe that while there is still division in our society, there is also more collective will to ensure that all people are treated with compassion and respect.

Even through the horrific anger and violence directed at members of the Asian-American community, we have also witnessed the greatest collective will and unity to speak up about these attacks and invest in greater education and resources to stop this hate. This past year we all showed that words and discussion is critical, but so is action. That is why it was so encouraging, for instance,  to learn that the first of its kind Hate Acts Crime bill was recently signed into law.

And we must not forget that even as strides are made to address the pain, hate and suffering so many marginalized groups in our country have endured, the fight for justice is not over until all individuals are treated with common respect and equality and we continue to have stark reminders that this is still not our reality. Whether it is the recent violence we have seen in our backyard against Jewish-Americans, the intolerance and discrimination that continues to plague our society against Muslim-Americans, or acts of hate against the LGBTQ community - we can not ignore that we all have a shared humanity and are entitled to respect and equal opportunity.

So as I reflect on this week and the past year, one of my greatest hopes is that an indelible legacy of the past year is that we all speak up when we see injustice, and that leaders -- especially those across corporate America who have a special ability to scale up change -- choose to speak up and act to ensure we build a society where all are seen, valued and invested in. So thank you for all you do, thank you for being a truly amazing community that cares about our work and about each other - I am grateful to work with you all.




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