Don’t Believe the Hype – Since George Floyd’s Murder, Some Things Have Changed

Don’t believe the hype. In the four years since George Floyd was murdered, things have changed. Not nearly as much as we want, but people and communities all over the world are different now because of what we witnessed and challenged and vowed to fight even harder against. You can’t always measure change with statistics, laws, proposals, or studies. You can, however, always measure change through the stories of people.

In the four years since George Floyd was murdered, SAY THEIR NAMES was born (as were many other books that have explored themes of peace, justice, and protest in response).

Countless numbers of people, including children pre-school to college, have read SAY THEIR NAMES or have had it read to them, and have listened to my talks and performances.

They have learned about George Floyd’s life, and legacy.

They have said his name and the names of so many other Black men, women, and trans who have lost their lives to police brutality, and understood that we say their names.

We say their names to,
As Curtis Mayfield encourage,  “keep on pushin’
And move up a little higher…”
We say their names to paraphrase John Lennon in his lyrics, “Imagine, if you can,
A simple brotherhood of man.”

Through SAY THEIR NAMES (and other works), countless numbers of people have been encouraged to imagine and work toward a better world.

They have been invited to tap into the more than 30 gifts that Aliya brings to us in this story.

They have confessed to understanding that if they walk into a room or situation and there is no peace, they will bring and embody the peace. If there is no justice, they will bring and embody the justice. If there is no community, they will bring and embody the community. If there is no joy, they will bring and embody the joy. If there is no love…you get the picture… (WE bring and embody the love. We can predict the future by being the future…)

SAY THEIR NAMES is now a 2024 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Honor Book. It is a 2024 selection of the Teaching for Change social justice literature curriculum. Countless lives are being touched. So, don’t believe the hype. Four years is a blip on the landscape of time, on the thrust of history. Some things have changed because many of us changed. And we have vowed to keep fighting for a world where Black lives matter.

(Pictured: Father of three young children sharing his excitement about SAY THEIR NAMES with local artist at The Well at Oxon Run in August 2022. Photo by Caroline Brewer)