A message from ICT Executive Director Albert Betts, Jr. reflecting on Mr. Floyd and so many others.
First, I hope everyone in the ICT community has remained safe and sound during what has been a very difficult year. Earlier this week, ICT distributed a Special Edition updating on the protests triggered by the recent death of Mr. Floyd, and noting from an insurance perspective, questions regarding property damage and coverage.
Today, I want to briefly address the larger issue of George Floyd’s death and the nearly two weeks of predominantly peaceful protests and marches. Condolences to his family, and countless others who’ve experienced the same but whose names have been forgotten or didn’t make national news.
Admittedly, I had to go through many versions of this statement. Mr. Floyd’s death at the hands of the four law enforcement officers, and other recent high profile events - the chase and shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, the shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, while sleeping in her home, and the call to police alleging threatening action by Christian Cooper, who was birdwatching in Central Park - hit me at a personal level. It reminds me of other recent events we’ve seen captured on video, and others only told about because there were no cameras around, and some, Emmett Till, recorded in history. Most importantly, it reminds me of stories my parents, who grew up in deep East Texas during legalized segregation, often told me as I was growing up, and stories often shared amongst friends.
As you watch these protests, understand that there’s a lot of history here and the emotions and anger we’ve seen this week are not just about Mr. Floyd. I cannot begin to express the sadness, bewilderment, and anger, in my own home as we watched the video. Many of you in the ICT community may also be struggling to understand and make sense of what you saw and as well as what’s happening on the streets of many of our major cities. I urge everyone to take this opportunity to listen and learn. There is no magic wand to resolve these long-time national issues on race and racial justice and equality. It cannot be solved by one group or one individual. Over the last few days I’ve been asked by some of my nearest and dearest friends “What can I do?”. My short answer is “I don’t know” and it’s not up to me or any other African-American to solve the problem. But we have to start listening and trying to understand each other and the unique perspectives and experience we bring to our shared American experience. We all have an obligation to make this country live up to the ideals expressed in our Constitution. Obviously, we may disagree on how to get there but those ideals are there for a reason, and the answer cannot be going back to the past. But we have to start talking with each other, rather than at it each other, and work towards common understandings and goals.
As we noted earlier this week, insurance is here to help fix the property damage but other “fixes” require a commitment of the heart and soul, and will be a much longer and tougher process.
Albert Betts, Jr.
ICT Executive Director