The death of George Floyd is tragic, and the loss of another African American life is especially tragic when you consider the corrosive role racism has played in our nation’s history. Black lives matter, the 14th Amendment calls for equal justice under the law, and we must stand for nothing less.
I am frustrated that we continue to witness an unequal criminal justice system in this country, and I agree with President Obama that we all must raise awareness, organize, and then cast our ballots in support of candidates who will make real reforms. Our democracy is on the ballot this November.
Unfortunately, what happened in Minneapolis – and similar tragedies that have happened in cities across America – damages the trust and confidence in our nation’s law enforcement agencies.
The offenses committed by the four officers in Minneapolis are not consistent with the mission of the majority of our peace officers, and I agree with the peace officers in PORAC who believe that we must turn this tragedy into an opportunity to develop a national standard regarding use of force, and a national standard for training and recruitment.
To protest is patriotic, and I believe that the millions of Americans who are peacefully protesting across our nation have every right to express their frustration over the unequal economic and criminal justice systems in our country, and I believe that if our democracy is to survive, we must guarantee the right to assemble and to be heard.
At the same time, when a small minority of people take advantage of the situation to commit violent acts, they need to realize that their actions undermine the message of peaceful protesters, and they’re also putting other people’s lives at risk.
40 million Americans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have spoken with so many people who have lost their jobs, people who can’t pay their rent, and also with veterans and senior adults who are worried about where they are going to get their next meal – our nation is in a crisis. On multiple levels.
The only way I see us getting through it is if we start listening to one another, start helping each other, start advocating for one another, and then we all need to speak up the loudest for those who need the most help. That’s how we are going to bring about real change.