The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd within a span of three months in 2020 set off thousands of protests in the United States and elsewhere, and sparked a new national conversation about race.

For people of color, what happened wasn’t new—it was merely a reminder of what they have seen and experienced all their lives. To gain perspective, we asked three people to reflect on the issues the country has been grappling with. One is a Black student who has struggled to feel comfortable at Puget Sound—and who is trying to make the path easier for others who follow her. Another is an alumnus whose lifelong activism dates to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And the third is a faculty member in African American studies who believes that creating a better future requires having a more accurate and complete understanding of our past. 

Illustrations by Ekua Holmes
Ekua Holmes is a Boston-based mixed-media artist who has devoted her practice to sustaining contemporary Black art traditions as an artist and curator of exhibitions. She was invited to create the Google Doodle for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2015.