• Folake Phillips

Should I or Should I Not Fear?

Updated: May 27

AWỌ Founder & Executive Director Folake Phillips Reflects On Current Social Climate


Los Gatos, CA -- As a Nigerian immigrant woman new to living in the US during these times of civil unrest, wondering if I should be afraid for myself or my son's life is now my reality. It has also been the reality for so many others like me because of the centuries long socio-economic and political construct of 'black' by society that is affecting our various identities to this day. Even as I try to get the George Floyd verdict off my chest, I intend to keep the centering on Black Lives. More importantly, African-American Lives.

And so while trying to mitigate implicit bias and build relationships, I am learning about the importance of using and engaging all aspects of an individual's culture or identity to achieve a more equitable outcome. For instance, whenever we navigate discussions on the lived experiences of many African-Americans, we should be aware of and take into account the following ubiquitous real life aggressions:

  • The generational fear for one's life, and now, the life of their children

  • The immense mental pressure and trauma from having to live life as a target has become the norm if one gets to live at all

  • How obtaining a driver's license is no longer seen by many African-American youths as one of the exciting highlights of becoming an adult.

In the video recording of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck, one that still haunts me to this day, it is hard to miss the level of confidence and arrogance displayed as he had his hands in his pockets almost the entire time. Right there was the statement of the unequal value of "HUEman life." No, I should not have to be accountable for someone else's fear -- irrational or otherwise.

So on the one year anniversary of George Floyd's death, I invite you to a public reflection and discussion of how this one man's preventable tragic outcome has changed your life trajectory for the betterment of all.

Please join me online via Zoom this Tuesday May 25, 2021 at 2pm PST at this link:

https://awocenter.org/george-floyd

I look forward to our discussions and how we can come together to ensure better outcomes for all our sons and daughters.