University, Student Leaders Reflect on Whether George Floyd Protests Will Spur Sustained Change

The nation watched in anger and shock as a white police officer in Minneapolis nonchalantly knelt on the neck of George Floyd, an African American man, who had been accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill until he uttered the words “I can’t breathe.” Floyd’s brief encounter with the police, which was recorded and subsequently disseminated to the world, was the latest in numerous encounters in which unarmed African American men and women have died at the hands of police or other citizens taking the law into their own hands.

Floyd’s death set off national, even global, outrage and has sent diverse groups of people of all races, cultures, creeds and ages to the streets for more than 10 days to protest racial injustice in law enforcement. Most of the protests were peaceful, but there were some that included looting and fires. Do these multiracial, multigenerational protests indicate that the nation has reached a racial tipping point? Will these protests lead to national policy that will finally usher in the equality and justice for which this country is based?

Kent State Today is asking university and student leaders to share their personal insights into whether these steps will lead to sustained change in America.


Read opinion pieces by voices across Kent State University

  • Neil Cooper, Ph.D.

    Neil Cooper, Ph.D.

    Director of Kent State’s School of Peace and Conflict Studies  

  • Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D.

    Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D.

    Kent State’s interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chair and associate professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies 

  • Tayjua Hines

    Tayjua Hines

    President of Kent State’s Black United Students

  • Mike Daniels

    Mike Daniels

    Interim director of Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center

  • Mwatabu S. Okantah

    Mwatabu S. Okantah

    Associate professor in Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies

  • Wayne Dawson

    Wayne Dawson

    Kent State alumnus and anchor at WJW Fox 8

  • Michael Kavulic, Ph.D.

    Michael Kavulic, Ph.D.

    Director of research strategic initiatives in Kent State’s Division of Research and Sponsored Programs

  • Jhariah Wadkins

    Jhariah Wadkins

    Senior communications studies major in Kent State’s College of Communication and Information

  • Eric Mansfield

    Eric Mansfield

    Executive director of university media relations in Kent State's University Communications and Marketing department and an adjunct public relations instructor with the College of Communication and Information

  • Aidan Taylor

    Aidan Taylor

    Senior pursuing a double major in Digital Media Production and Pan African Studies

POSTED: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 9:59am
UPDATED: Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 2:53pm
April McClellan-Copeland