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Finding equity in education in George Floyd’s name

More and more universities across the country are creating scholarships for the next generation of young Black leaders.

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The murder of George Floyd shook the country, and many businesses have decided to make statements, donate money and pledge to hire more Black employees. Universities across the nation have established scholarships in Floyd’s name for the next generation of young Black leaders. 

It started when the President of Minneapolis’s North Central University, Scott Hagan,  announced that the university is creating a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship during Floyd’s funeral service on June 4. 

Hagan said that the fund has already received $53,000 in donations. 

He also proposed a challenge for other universities to follow in their footsteps. 

“It is time to invest like never before in a new generation of young Black Americans who are poised and ready to take leadership in our nation. So, university presidents, let’s step up together,” he said.

Hagan posted an article on Linkedin to explain his decision and address the racist backlash he received from people in the academic world. He argued that these attitudes are outdated and that the new generation of young people want to end racism, not perpetuate it. 

At the end of the article, he expressed how he wants George Floyd’s children to be proud of the legacy their dad left behind, and to see that “out of ashes, good has come.”

Twelve universities decided to take Hagan’s challenge for equity in education. 

The University of Memphis created a scholarship in partnership with Shelby County Schools with a goal of providing support to “as many African American Male Academy members as possible.”

The academy is a program that seeks to improve graduation rates among African American men. 

In a press release, the Superintendent of Shelby County Schools, Dr. Joris M. Ray, wrote that George Floyd’s “final cries for breath will forever be ingrained in our consciousness as we extend a financial lifeline to students seeking to achieve greater outcomes.” 

SUNY Buffalo State College established a George Floyd Scholarship in order to “lift up future African American leaders who support racial justice and equity efforts in their communities.” 

It aims to provide $10,000 to incoming first year students, but they are encouraging community partners and volunteers to donate so they can reach their eventual goal of $1 million. 

The University of Utah has created a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in their Black Cultural Center. President Ruth Watkins said that “this is a moment that calls for action and great compassion to address the systemic racism and oppression brought to the forefront by Black Lives Matter and others.” 

Other Universities that have taken Hagan’s challenge are Oakwood University, University of Minnesota, Missouri State University, Alabama State University, Concord University, Winona State University and more. 

Education is heavily impacted by systemic racism and it can only truly be changed from within. If more and more Universities decide to honor George Floyd’s life by providing opportunities for Black students, a whole new generation of professionals will be able to thrive. 

 

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