The following is a message from Rachel Flesicher, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, on the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
“Let’s be clear: George Floyd was murdered. He should still be alive today, and his life was taken from him just like so many other Black people in the United States throughout this nation’s history. George Floyd is the latest example of a centuries-long epidemic of continued and systemic violence by the police against communities of color. When President Trump tweets that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts,’ referencing a 1967 quote by former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley on how to deal with protests, he directly promotes the same culture of violence towards Black communities that has resulted in the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and far too many other young Black people before them. It is an act of racism and violence. But President Trump is a symptom of the dark seeds of racism that have always existed in the United States.
Regardless of if the officers responsible for George Floyd’s murder are punished, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that changes in a police force will stem the tide of police violence towards communities of color or solve the scourge of racism. Instead, we must recognize the pattern of racial violence and the real threat it poses to communities of color nationwide, and demand change both locally and nationally.
Our hearts break for the people of Minneapolis, and for every person of color who lives their life knowing that law enforcement isn’t there to protect them. It’s undeniable that America — and the power structures within it — varies greatly depending on your race, your ZIP code, and your income. That is a direct result of a longstanding pattern of racism which permeates every aspect of our nation, and the death of George Floyd is a gut-wrenching reminder of that fact.
Countless Black lives have been lost throughout our nation’s history to this kind of violence, and that is an unspeakable tragedy. But there are things we can — and must — do now to help the people who are hurting and need our support. Please consider donating to George’s family, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Violence against communities of color has defined this nation for too long. Young people want change, and they’re going to fight like hell until they have it. We stand with Minneapolis, with our neighbors of color, and with the nation’s young people.”