Today the founder and President of The Expectations Project, Dr. Nicole Baker Fulgham released the following statement in response to the murder of George Floyd, and the need to demand urgent reforms to end racial injustice in our criminal justice system:
“Heartbroken. Frustrated. Exhausted. Disgusted. Rage.
Those five words only describe a sliver of the array of emotions I’ve felt during the last several days. Our nation has erupted, once again, as we mourn the loss of Black lives at the hands of those designed to protect us. We can add George Floyd’s name to the list of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Freddy Gray and countless others. As a Black woman, it is gut-wrenching to watch this horrific cycle repeat itself.
Meanwhile, George Floyd’s murder occurred while America is experiencing its worst pandemic in 100 years. The invisible virus is taking the lives of Black people at much higher rates, wreaking economic havoc on our families, and creating wider schooling gaps in our neighborhoods. It has exposed the vast inequalities in health care, economic and education systems. And it adds to our community’s collective sense of exhaustion in this moment.
Black Americans are literally fighting for our lives on multiple fronts.
The Expectations Project seeks to dismantle systemic inequalities in our nation’s public education system as we support and empower Black and brown faith communities. But we know educational disparities are inextricably linked to broader policing policies, criminal justice reform, and school discipline, where Black students are 3.4x more likely to be suspended than their white peers. We want all Black students to inherit a nation that does not see them as a threat; they deserve a country that views them as fully human rather than a potential criminal.
Unjust, biased and racially-motivated police actions remain a deep stain on our nation. Systemic racism in any institution serves to remind us that America falls woefully short of our promise to treat everyone equally – often resulting in deadly consequences. And just like the rage that has sparked the flames in our nation’s cities after George Floyd’s death – our nation’s systemic inequalities have always been festering right below the surface. Moments like this give us the opportunity to truly see them, lament, and to reckon with all of them.
As always, we must decide if we will cry and shout and tweet for a few days, or if we will commit to real change and action. We encourage each of you—and faith communities around the nation—to do something. Please consider donating to one of the organizations listed here and standing with those who have moved our voices to the streets to demand justice. By God’s grace and the unified strength of our nation, let this be the last time we need to write a statement like this.”