A year after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as President Biden addresses the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, we asked members of the Truman community to provide analysis on the intersection of racism and national security.
D’Juan Wilcher, Truman Defense Council
"One year later. Our country has been through so much and yet the burden of the social justice movement still seems to be saddled primarily on the backs of Black Americans. I dare not question the goodwill and intent of so many organizations and individuals who stepped forward to speak on the murder of George Floyd, however, it would be dishonest of me not to say that I have kept a watchful eye to see how those same companies and individuals responded to the verdict. Unsurprisingly, fewer were as forward-leaning as they had been only one year prior. This is the unshakeable burden I speak of. For me, I am unable to distance myself from my reality. I cannot unhear the daily micro (and macro) aggressions that negatively affect my mental health. I am expected to be the one to give space for understanding when George Floyd is referred to as a martyr, when we know that had he been given the option, that would not have been his choice. For me, it is difficult to trust because inequities persist in all aspects of life and most notably in health care during a year when mental health resilience is arguably at its lowest and those in power to affect change seem to need incentivization. And yet, we must press on. We must press on to ensure that federal protections for Black Americans are signed into law; we must press on to ensure that people in power are held accountable to the abuses of it; we must press on because we do not have the luxury not to."
Adom Cooper, Truman Security Fellow and Operations Planning Specialist, U.S. Department of State
“Whether it is institutional racism in the U.S., the historic destruction of Native American Tribes and subsequent habitual violation of treaties, apartheid in South Africa, or what is happening right now to Palestinians, traditional national security perspectives do not account for nor consider Black/Brown lives. Policy decisions are made at the expense of our security, despite our lives being the most at risk. George Floyd's murder was a solemn reminder of this fact. Domestic policy amplifies and informs foreign policy and national security. Folks today are talking more about racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, etc. But nothing has changed with the policies that led to Floyd's murder. Those policies will continue to amplify and inform foreign policy and national security, at the expense of the next George Floyd's life.”
Kehinde Togun, Truman Fellow and Senior Director for Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United
“There are concrete steps that we can take towards meaningful progress on police reform. We might begin by acknowledging that the United States is not exceptional and we are equally lacking in solutions. Doing so can encourage us to join global efforts focused on police and security sector reform. The Biden administration’s plans for a Democracy Summit presents a unique opportunity. Instead of the traditional approach of only having participating countries make commitments, the summit could be a platform for working level dialogue on a myriad of issues including police reform. The US can then make concrete commitments alongside other nations who are struggling to reform elements of their security sector.”
Truman's members offered these comments in their personal capacities. Their comments do not represent all of Truman, nor are they associated with any official role.