A Response to the Death of George Floyd and a Call to Action from the NCFR Board of Directors

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) mourns the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020.  Mr. Floyd is yet another Black life tragically lost at the hands of law enforcement or vigilante violence, following the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and many others. The NCFR Board of Directors grieves with the families and communities of these victims as well as our members who daily must persist while experiencing trauma, pain, anger, fear, frustration, and utter exhaustion. We recognize Black families living in the United States have been confronting a long and deeply-rooted history of racial discrimination, dehumanization, terror, and injustice that is our nation’s stain. We also recognize the unequal burden and health risks of fighting for justice and human dignity amidst the COVID-19 crisis that is disproportionately claiming Black life.

Communities across the U.S. and throughout the world have responded to Mr. Floyd’s death protesting against structural violence and the systematic unequal treatment of Black people. The NCFR Board stands in solidarity with the tens of thousands across the country marching peacefully and loudly to protest these needless deaths and structural inequalities. We condemn those who carry out acts of violence against innocent bystanders, business owners, the press, and those exercising their Constitutional rights to peaceably assemble.

Now is a time to listen – to actively listen – and reflect. We must listen and learn from our Black, Brown, and other racial minoritized colleagues, students, and families we serve. And with listening and learning, we must strive to more deeply understand the complex issues of racism and inequality that systematically prevent racial minoritized families from enjoying the same freedoms and opportunities as other families. It is time to reflect on White and other socially-constructed privileges and to acknowledge how privilege can be used to maintain advantage over others and sustain inequities and disparities in our society.

Now is also a time to act – with a purposeful plan. We challenge NCFR members to confront and dismantle White supremacy in all areas where we work. It must be addressed in our research, teaching and practice, within the systems of which we are a part (e.g. education, health, family services, government, and other organizations), and within ourselves. This is not the time to passively watch others attempt change.  We, all of us, must be a dynamic component of that change in ourselves and in the world.

The NCFR Board remains committed to bringing its resources to bear to advance a more just and anti-racist society. NCFR’s most relevant resources that address racism and racial violence can be found at ncfr.org/news/resources-address-racism-and-racial-violence. Further, the NCFR Board is committed to ongoing collaboration with members to expand and implement strategies for tackling racism in both our personal and professional lives.  We encourage members to use the many organizational forums available (e.g., NCFR Discussion Groups, Sections, Focus Groups) to begin action-oriented dialogues of next steps.  We also welcome comments to the Board at ncfr.org/form/contact-the-board. We are grateful for the critical work you all do as scholars, educators, and practitioners in the service of families. We encourage you to use your voice and available resources as we continue the hard and necessary work of forging a society free from racial violence and oppression.

—The NCFR Board of Directors

The NCFR Board of Directors is deeply appreciative of the contributions made to this statement by members of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee.