MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The first African American superintendent in Middletown Schools’ history went to social media today to share his feelings about the recent death of George Floyd, who died in police custody last week.
According to the Journal-News, Marlon Styles Jr. posted a message to his Twitter account at 4:40 p.m. Monday entitled “a message to our students” in the Butler County school system, writing “the mistreatment of African-American people in this country is on display and must change.”
“This does not have to be the ‘normal’ that you accept,” said Styles of the incident in Minneapolis last week that saw Floyd, an African American, die while in police custody.
Floyd’s arrest, which was captured on video, later set off protests across many cities and other communities in America, leading to millions of dollars in damages and hundreds of injuries.
“All of the Middletown School City School District sends our deepest condolences to Mr. George Floyd’s family during this time. For the past six days many of us have cried and experienced anger as a result of the ongoing mistreatment of African Americans in this country.
“I write from my angered, but hopeful heart. As you attempt to heal, I write to you as you find the courage to seek and lead change for this country,” he wrote.
“At different times throughout my 42 years of life, I have experienced racism and battled countless inequities that have confronted me. It has not been easy. I believe in doing everything I can so someone else’s life is better than mine. I want your lives to be better than mine.”
“The recent events surrounding the killing of Mr. Floyd, have our nation facing a very important decision. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said ‘our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’”
“I am challenging you, now more than ever, to amplify your voice to create a new ‘normal’ for this country. Deep in my heart, I know each of you can bring about the change our society needs to make things better for everyone. Your life matters. All of our students’ lives matter,” wrote Styles.
The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9.