My name is Angel Floyd and I traveled in Cast D 1986.
A name you know, a man who has come to mean so much to so many (not only across my country but around the world) is my cousin: George Floyd. He was killed by a police officer three weeks ago at only 46 years old.
His grandfather and my grandfather were twins. As I’ve grown up and throughout my life, our Floyd-Jackson family unit has remained strong. But losing George, so unexpectedly and violently, has left us in anguish.
We’re still grieving. We’re dealing with not only our grief, but the horrible things people are saying about my cousin.
I log onto Facebook and am hit with messages from so-called friends, colleagues and even relatives that leave me feeling more hurt and confused. People who do not know my cousin are using his name to justify whatever cause they deem important right now…
My family is hurting. We are in pain. And, yes, we are deeply saddened.
However: We do not, in any form, condone violence or looting done in my family’s name. We need to maintain our focus on the common goal of eliminating inequality of all forms.
When I traveled in UWP 34 years ago, I befriended my cast mates from 17 different countries all around the world. My UWP experience, and the love I experienced in that year, is very important to me.
Up with People is about building bridges of education for people of all nations. I’m disheartened, disappointed and discouraged by the response I’ve seen from some fellow alumni and other friends and colleagues in my circle.
What many don’t understand is how different day-to-day life can be for anyone who doesn’t fit the majority—the number of second glances, people thinking they need to keep an eye on me, and normal interactions that turn sour—it’s tiring, it’s daily, and been so far ever-present in my life.
This is where our focus needs to be: How do we help others understand our plight? And how do we ensure this pain, this emotion many of us feel right now, is not temporary? We can’t move away from this hurt now that our fire is ignited…
Where do we go from here?
This is a rhetorical question; I don’t have the answer. But I want to urge my fellow alumni to ask themselves this same question. Continue to live out what we learned in Up with People: It’s not just a trip you went on for six or 12 months when you were younger.
We all can and should be doing something each day from this point forward to eliminate inequality wherever we see it. Not passively, but actively.
Personally, we should be gathering and remembering my cousin peacefully, and yet people who never met George are using him to make their own statements and cause further devastation to people’s lives and livelihoods. This needs to stop; it’s gone too far and does not help our cause.
As an alumni family, let’s stay focused on the real issues and come together to denounce inequality of all forms.
We will live the world we want to see into existence.
Angel is a rodeo philanthropist, professional speaker and businesswoman who cultivated her rodeo production company, C91, which began with barrel racing and developed into being a rodeo stock contractor. You can read more about Angel on her website.