For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a white officer knelled on a black man’s neck, killing him without cause, hesitation, or fear. George Floyd did not deserve this. No person does and no one should ever have to experience that kind of racial injustice again.
This week, George Floyd was laid to rest. As the founder/owner of Age Well Fitness, Inc., I can tell you our community is outraged and we are unified in our commitment to create change. We stand shoulder to shoulder within our black community against racism and violence. We are taking action to promote an inclusive environment and eliminate our biases.
I grew up in a city that was more than 50% black, but I attended a boarding school that was 80% white. As a black child at a predominantly white boarding school, I realized I was treated different. I realized if a white friend and I committed the same infraction, my consequence was significantly more harsh. I have accepted that I would never be treated fairly in my country.
Until this moment, I never felt that there could be true equality for black and brown people. My entire life, I have experienced racism and fully recognized the lasting impact of our country’s history on black and brown citizens. I have struggled with the feeling my white friends and associates didn't understand the full impact of racism. The violent symptoms of systemic racism have never been made more horrifically clear than they are today.
I don’t have all the answers. None of us do. I do know with more white people acknowledging the horrific death of George Floyd, we are experiencing a much broader awareness. This allows opportunity for real conversations with honesty and transparency. However, we must go far beyond words. It’s time for tangible action, true accountability, and measurable changes.
I invite you to join our movement.
I am also the CEO of the Jacksonville Association of Exercise & Nutrition Professionals (JAENP). I formed this organization to reach out to the under-served in the black community providing access to top-notch personal training and nutritional support.
At JAENP,we say "we have your backs", and that comes from the heart. Our members recognize we need to step up and do more for the black community. Over the past several days, we have prioritized listening to our members and our broader community. Our members shared powerful and heartbreaking stories on social media.
This is not a moment, this is a movement.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and too many others have not died in vain. They are not forgotten, and their lives have and will continue to mean something.
Our world can change. Let’s all do our part to help.
Max Sturdivant " Dr. Fitness"
Founder/Owner Age Well Fitness, Inc.
Founder/CEO Jacksonville Association of Exercise & Nutrition Professionals, Inc.