On the First Anniversary of the Death of George Floyd: Remembrance and Commitment

TO: The Gonzaga Community
FROM: Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
SUBJ: On the First Anniversary of the Death of George Floyd: Remembrance and Commitment
DATE: May 25, 2021

Today marks the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, and in a particular way our prayers go out to his family and friends. The murder of Floyd was a horrific and tragic incident that catalyzed successive waves of national and international activism, dialogue and action. As the Gonzaga University community reflects on the year gone by, I encourage us to reflect on the significance of the BlackLivesMatter movement, activism in support of justice, and renewal of our individual and collective commitment to standing in solidarity with our Black sisters and brothers, and people of color, as together we pursue a more just, equitable and humane existence for all. The wave of action following Mr. Floyd’s murder served to illuminate the reality of systemic racism and bias, power imbalances, disparities, and prejudiced structures that daily perpetuate injustice and cause harm throughout our American society and local communities. In fidelity to Gonzaga’s Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic mission, which calls on us to respect and protect human dignity, we must and will continue to lean into the tension of this reality, engaging in difficult, courageous, and actionable conversations and actions that work toward a more inclusive, fair, and compassionate reality for every individual.

It is important that in addition to the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death, we remember and honor his life and humanity as a grandfather, father, son, brother, teammate, lyricist, student, colleague, friend, and community member. We honor the impact of his death upon his family and community. May we preserve the momentum of the movement he – and the deaths of other Black Americans – have inspired, and in so doing, acknowledge the sanctity and infinite value of all human life.

As a community dedicated to the pursuit of learning and the care of the whole person, the death of George Floyd, as well as many contemporary instances of racially-motivated discrimination, abuse and killings, remains a cause for fear, heartbreak, frustration, and anger. The prayers and commitment of this university community are with you today and every day. We are committed to honoring George Floyd’s legacy through our commitment to justice, expressed not only in words, but in deeds, and in solidarity with many Gonzaga University colleagues, students, friends, boards, alumni, and families.