Why is the Fund named for "George Floyd"?
At his memorial, George Floyd was eulogized as the “cornerstone of a movement.” In the same vein, to give the tragedy of George Floyd’s death the opportunity to serve as a cornerstone for our own movement toward great inclusivity at Centre College.
George Floyd's death brought into stark relief the violence that has been waged over the course of American history against Black people because they are Black. This Fund commemorates all those who have died as a result of extra-judicial killings. American and democratic values grant the dignity of personhood to all people, not only those who are beyond reproach. For more than 400 years, Black people in America have been denied basic recognition of their humanity. George Floyd deserved to be treated with the basic respect that our justice system supposedly affords all people simply because they are human beings. He was denied his basic human rights, denied his right to breathe, like so many Black people, by the very people who have been tasked to "protect and defend life and liberty."
George’s Floyd’s name has become a symbol of unjust police action and systemic racism in this country. The cruel and inhumane treatment of George Floyd, and so many Black people before him and since his death, is a national tragedy. It is tragi and true that we could have named this fund for so many people, far too many people. Trayvon Martin, Philando Castille, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Aiyana Jones....It would have made sense to honor the memory of Breonna Taylor of Louisville, Kentucky, who was wrongfully killed by the police, or to name if for David McAtee, who was shot in Louisville during the protests in the aftermath of Floyd's killing. While we named the fund for George Floyd, because his killing sparked a new moment of national reckoning with racial injustice, through saying his name, through a fund in his name, we seek to honor all of those people of color who have suffered police brutality and violence simply because of the color of their skin and the systemic racism that plagues our society. Saying his name is a part of saying all of their names; saying their names is a small act in a profound struggle to create a world that recognizes that Black Lives Matter.
In the wake of George Floyd's death, a number of Centre students and alumni gave have given voice to the challenges that minorities face at Centre College. They have called for greater attention to issues of racial justice and equity on campus. We established this fund to stand in solidarity with these students and alumni; it is an expression of our desire to continue to work to address issues of marginalization and racism at Centre in an effort to create a more equitable, inclusive, and just environment.
—Dina Badie and Shana Sippy