Reflecting on a year since the death of George Floyd

Press Release
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Reflecting on a year since the death of George Floyd

Today, our thoughts, and our voices, are with the family of George Floyd and with every family scarred by racially-motivated violence.

One year ago, I echoed the plea of so many in our nation: being Black in America should not be a death sentence. I urged our national community to reaffirm our dedication to inclusive freedom, including the freedom from fear and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. As our nation spoke up and spoke out, demanded change and sought real reform in our law enforcement and criminal justice system, our hope was assaulted again and again. Since Mr. Floyd’s murder, over 1,000 other people have been killed by police in this country. Of those, over 50% have been a Black or Brown person despite making up only 37% of the US population.

The disproportionate targeting and killing of people of color by police in our country must end. We must, on this day and every day, reflect on who we have lost and persevere in their memory. We must not let George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Timothy Thomas, Sam Dubose and the many, many others be victims. They must be catalysts of change in whose memory we tirelessly advocate for an equitable nation, where all people are endowed by their creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I am saddened to mark the year since Mr. Floyd’s death with such little progress, but I am not disheartened. I have courage. We will not quit; we will persevere. We will continue to work together in this cause of inclusive freedom.

Mr. Floyd has indeed changed the world, even if it does not yet reflect the equitable society we all deserve. The road to freedom is long, and winding, but we will move, step-by-step, to see that his legacy lives on.

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,
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