Earlier today, I participated in the People of Color and Indigenous caucus (POCI) news conference in response to the murder of George Floyd. Please see my remarks below:
Let us not forget why we are here today. A black man – his name is George Floyd – was murdered in the hands of Minneapolis Police officers. Let us not forget that a man who should be alive today is dead. Nothing will bring him back. And I’m sorry to his family, I feel your pain. To the community, I feel your pain. The anger, the frustration that we can’t do anything is what has brought us here today. We have seen this coming in many places.
The way we address the coronavirus, COVID-19 is the same way we need to address the virus we have in racism, in the criminal justice system. We cannot wait any longer. We have listened to the community. The time for hearing has passed. It’s time for us to act. And that act means we have to address the police brutality and violence in our communities. We need our communities to look like the police that are representing them. For most of the time the police who represent us in Minneapolis come from the outside, and that’s unacceptable. We have to look at the issues that have impacted the community from every level that we can address.
If this is not the moment, then I don’t know when. If it is not now, then I don’t know when. If it’s not us, then I don’t know who. I don’t want the next generation thinking about racial justice and criminal justice when we can address it now. When we go back to the legislature in the special session, George Floyd isn’t going back, and we should not go back until we made those changes we asked.
For too long we have ignored many people who have asked us to act; they’re suffering lack of action. Institutional racism and injustice exist in our society, [in] our economy, our laws, our criminal justice system, our educational system in housing and also in public health.
Now is the time for us to act.