George Floyd ought to be on every American's mind, don't you agree? I don't know anything about the man other than he died by the hands of four police officers. Brutes, really. Thugs. As the cops knelt on his body for more than eight minutes, Floyd showed no resistance and repeatedly told them that he couldn't breathe.
The death scene was disgusting. It was horrifying, and it was sad. It didn't have to be!
I am glad that since Floyd's death, on May 25, 2020, systematic racism and its perpetrators have been put on notice.
1. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (June 2, 2020) filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department, along with investigating the department for systemic discriminatory practices and abuse of force.
2. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded the murder charge against Chauvin from third to second degree. In addition, Attorney General Ellison charged the three other police officers (Thao, Kueng, and Lane) with being accessories to and aiding in the murder of George Floyd.
3. Clergy throughout the country denounced Trump for pushing aside peaceful protestors with violence so that he could take pictures of himself holding a Bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, across from the White House.
4. Twitter closed a fake account opened by a white supremacist group pretending to be the voice of the Antifa movement.
5. Defense Secretary Esper publicly disagreed with Trump about the use of the Insurrection Act to quell protestors, which Trump threatened to invoke if governors didn't control their states. (Time will tell whether Esper stands strong or kowtows to Trump.)
6. Police officers and National Guards at demonstrations across the country kneel with protestors in solidarity.
7. Communities come out the morning after the riots to help clean up the mess. Check out Ched Curtain's post, Walking on Broken Glass.
8. The former presidents, unlike Trump, offered unifying words of grief, kindness, and hope, along with speaking out against the killing of George Floyd and systemic racism. The Intelligencer posted their full statements here.
8. Former President Jimmy Carter wrote in his June 3, 2020 statement:
Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.
We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.
Why does this keep happening?
What can we do to ensure that every community has the police department it needs and deserves?
What can I do?
We can’t honestly answer these questions in the divide and conquer, us vs. them, shift the blame and shirk the responsibility world we’re living in. People with power should go first — answer the questions, expand who’s “us” and shrink who’s “them,” accept some blame, and assume more responsibility. But the rest of us have to answer these questions too.
10. Former President George W. Bush stated on June 2, 2020:
11. Former President Obama said in a virtual town hall address on June 3:
At some point, protests start to dwindle in size. And it’s very important for us to take the momentum that has been created as a society, as a country, and say, “Let’s use this to finally have an impact.”
12. General Mattis, the former Defense Secretary for Trump (oh my gosh, the brave man), criticized Trump for dividing our country and for pitting the military against civilians who are practicing their Constitutional rights. Additionally, General Mattis, like the former presidents, gave words of hope and encouragement to move forward.
To read General Mattis' complete statement check out this NPR.org page.
13. Every day more and more men, women, and children are courageously speaking their minds and hearts against the hate and violence of systematic racism and, yes, authoritarian leadership. Hallelujah!
The COVID-19 is still with us, so please continue the safety drill. You know it. :-)
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