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Senior Capstone 2021

What drives activism: The case of George Floyd

Abstract: On May 25th, 2020 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer by the name of Derek Chauvin. This led to not only months of protests throughout America, but this event transcended all borders with global outrage and worldwide protests. This paper aims to investigate the motivation of protesters, who were seemingly challenged in their actions by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study is based on a survey and assesses demographics of respondents, specifically focusing on their gender, race, and political affiliation. The results of the survey indicate that women, non-white individuals, and Democrats are more likely to have been significantly affected by the death of Floyd and were more apt to becoming politically active as a result.

Steve Bernard is a senior at Northeastern University pursuing a combined degree in Economics and Business Administration, with a dual concentration in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Bernard has previously spent time evaluating the impact of the death of Floyd along with racial injustices in America. He along with eight other students worked this past year with Dr. Venkatesan on a paper currently pending submission to the Contemporary Justice Review. As he finishes up his undergraduate degree, Bernard hopes that this paper will reach individuals who are currently uneducated on these topics and hopes to create awareness of systematic racism in American, police brutality, and ultimately help educate Americans in a meaningful way that will cause a stronger push to dismantle the racist institutions that still persist in our American society today.