Voices: George Floyd

USC Annenberg Professor Miki Turner asked some students to seize this moment to make sure George Floyd’s name would never be forgotten for the senseless way in which he died.

Sure, classes are on summer break, but this assignment would only require them to search their souls. This is their time.

“As faculty we not only need to nurture their talents, but we are also tasked with helping them develop their voices so that they can use the power of their collective platforms to effect change,” Turner says.

These 12 essays reflect the pain, confusion, dismay and hopelessness that our current students and recent alums are experiencing in a world that is unfamiliar to us all — even those of us who were alive and woke during the turbulent ‘60s. Collectively, they’ve all put the evolution on blast.

Annenberg Media student editors reviewed the stories and published them per newsroom guidelines.

As I try to understand why racism continues to breed, breathe, live and prosper in America, I keep running into problems within our education system. I went to a “blue-ribbon,” award-winning school, yet we were never given the tools to learn how to empathize with black people.

You all know me as the sports guy. When you have questions about who to start in your fantasy lineup, or what trade rumors are floating around the NBA, or who is good in the upcoming draft class, you come to me for answers — and I happily oblige. But sports is not the only subject on which you should consider my expertise.

Because of the color of my skin, I have never had to worry about being an automatic suspect in the eyes of law enforcement, a perceived threat to neighbors while completing simple activities like jogging, or even comprehend the unspoken rules on avoiding physical harm when getting pulled over by police.

There is only so much trauma a person can take in. I have grown into an adult watching the bodies of my peers die at the hands of the police.

Last week, ​one of​ the most repulsive and sickening videos we, as a country...NO...as humans, had ever seen, Horrifyingly invaded every social media platform, website, and television screen,

If I'm honest, growing up in Nigeria meant that I never had to think about these things or the color of my skin as being a disadvantage.

My parents have lived in our home in South Central LA since the early 1980s. They were proud of their neighborhood and were very active in community affairs. They had participated in the 1992 rebellions following the acquittal of the four Simi Valley policemen who had beaten Rodney King to death.

America is burning. Decades of injustice, violence, racism and white supremacy have fueled the flames that are bringing people to the streets to demand justice and accountability. White privilege has always been used as a weapon against minorities, be it Amy Cooper retaliating by calling the cops on Christian Cooper for asking her to follow rules or Ahmaud Arbery being murdered for jogging in his neighborhood. These are not isolated incidents.