One Year Later: Reflection on Chris Cooper's Racist Encounter in Central Park and George Floyd's Murder

Today marks the anniversary of Christian Cooper’s morning encounter with Amy Cooper and her off-leash dog in Central Park. Later that same day one year ago, George Floyd was murdered—and the public’s awareness of the racism that Chris experienced contributed to a nationwide groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Fortunately, Chris did not come to physical harm. He continues birding and sharing his love of birds with others. And his story spawned a surge in BIPOC bird watching, particularly Black bird watching. This progress gives us hope. And, we mourn the death of George Floyd, and the deaths of all those that have come before and after him. This layered and tragic collision of events underscores the continuing injustice and unequal policing faced by Black and Brown people, and the need for change.

As we recognize the passage of a year’s time since 5-25-20, we ask you to join with us in reflecting on its importance. We must work towards a day when Black and Brown people feel safe and welcome in the outdoors and public spaces more generally.