San Francisco Opera's DEI Statement on Anniversary of the Death of George Floyd
May 25 marks the first anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer fatally pressed his knee onto his neck. It was a modern-day lynching, and a life was lost. Derek Chauvin, a member of the Minneapolis Police Department, was brought to justice and convicted last month of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter only due to worldwide protests and the multiple, months-long campaigns calling for justice and restoration. For many people of color, the resulting conviction does not bring solace. In fact, watching the trial was re-traumatizing and exhausting, stirring up some strong emotions. This was compounded by the deaths of numerous Black men, even as the trial ensued. In light of these horrific incidents and the aftermath, what have we learned? What are we doing to support social change? How might we transform our anger and our grief into responsible action and advocacy?
The George Floyd Memorial Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, is set to host a "Day of Enlightenment" this May 25, 2021. The occasion is designed to engage the world by recognizing a day of reflection and action that moves us toward transformation. The goal of this event, which should be recognized and observed worldwide, is to get people thinking about what has changed inside each of us since that fateful day. During the time of remembrance and enlightenment, let us not remain stifled by pain and anger but instead renew our commitment to racial justice and healing that began in the streets of Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd. Over the last year, we've seen many organizations attempt to respond to the call for racial equity and justice in various ways—from crafting DEI statements to the formation of diversity committees. Today, that energy is waning, and people are losing focus. This is not acceptable.
It is time for us to move beyond outrage to action and change. Let us keep on marching, reflecting, and dismantling systems and structures that are perpetuating these inequities. Let us not escape our responsibilities because we are "tired" or frustrated with slow progress. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Now is the actual moment of reckoning. Let us continue to cultivate a more profound awakening to the ways systemic racism forms the very foundation of life in America. Let's not give in or lose the momentum or forsake the opportunity this moment provides us. We must each find our place in this effort toward eradicating systemic racism, social injustice, disenfranchisement, and oppression. Let's make sure George Floyd's death counts as something meaningful. Black Lives Matter.
Standing in Solidarity
The recent escalation in acts of violence and mistreatment of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities is deeply disturbing. San Francisco Opera stands against all anti-Asian bias and discrimination. We stand with all those in our communities who have been impacted by these horrific events, and we extend our solidarity and support to everyone in our AAPI communities.