Editor’s note: This is part of series of stories from WRAL TechWire focusing on the calls to action by African American executives in the Research Triangle technology sector following the death of George Floyd.

RALEIGH – Amie Thompson is CEO and president of Creative Allies, a content marketing firm based out of Raleigh.

She’s a rarity in today’s world where African American women were only 3.9 percent of executive- or senior-level officials and managers and 0.4 percent of CEOs in those companies, according to the Center for American Progress.

She, along with other African American business leaders in the community, are calling for lasting change after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

  • What is your view on the ground here in the Triangle?

Frustration, anger, fear, shock, sadness, overwhelmed all at once. When I see this on television it hits a certain way, but getting a text saying that we have an 8pm curfew in my city hits differently. I’m torn. I struggle with how to run my business effectively to make my team stays employed and still figure out what I can do to influence change. How do I stay safe during this pandemic but still look to support others? It’s a lot. I hurt for people who are peacefully protesting but getting caught in the same conversation as looters. I hurt for small business owners who were hoping to open back up soon but may not be able to. It’s not local but I hurt for George Floyd’s daughter who at a young age has to try to understand that her father isn’t coming back but the world is in disarray because he is gone. As I said, it’s a lot.

  • What can be done on a local level to affect change?

I pride myself on staying positive and always finding the positive, but this is a tough one. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing that can be done. Some people protest, some say voting makes a difference, but I’m not sure what really works.

At this point, I’m trying to find ways to have this conversation of what can be done locally and who actually has real power to help make that change. But I don’t have an answer for this.

  • Do you feel this is a watershed moment? If so, why?

This is a tough one. It feels like a turning point, but we’ve been here before, said the same thing, and now we are here again. The faces are different but the end result still feels the same. It’s not just the brutality of black men, it’s black women too which gets lost many times.

We’ll only know if it’s a watershed moment if we can look back in a year and see that things changed because of it. There are many people all over the world speaking about George Floyd. But his death isn’t even the only black person in the past few weeks who’ve been killed by the police and gotten national attention (there are plenty we’ll never hear about).

  • Where do we go from here?

I don’t think anyone has answers right now. At Creative Allies, we’ve been trying to find ways to use our platform and our community to do something. Doing something positive, no matter how small, is the only thing I know how to do right now.

One person can never truly know another person’s pain, so for now we can just look out for each other and express ourselves as best we can until we start figuring out what can be done to really see change.

African American leaders in Triangle tech community demand change in wake of George Floyd’s death