Statement on the Systemic Racism That Has Led to the Recent Deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2020
New York - Hispanic Federation President, Frankie Miranda, issued the following statement on the systemic racism that has led to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery:
“Like millions of other Americans, we were horrified by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week. The video footage captured by a bystander of Mr. Floyd’s death is a ghastly reminder of the cost of structural racism in the United States and the ways in which some law enforcement officials callously violate their sworn duty to protect and serve all Americans. Hispanic Federation joins with our fellow civil rights organizations in demanding that those who are responsible for Mr. Floyd’s death be held accountable.
The indifference, devaluing and dismissal of Mr. Floyd’s life is exactly what happened in March in Louisville, Kentucky with Breonna Taylor, a black woman, an EMT worker, who was shot dead in her own home by police searching for someone else. It is what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, a man jogging in Georgia who was killed in broad daylight by a father and son who felt that the color of Mr. Arbery’s skin gave them the right to take his life. It is heartbreaking to note that these are but a few of the black and brown lives killed without cause, and often without consequence, in just the past few years. Our nation was founded on a system of racial difference and white supremacy. To the extent that we fail to reckon with the legacies of these twin pillars of American history, we will continue to descend into cycles of violence.
Unfortunately, too many of our national leaders not only lack the courage to face this challenge head-on, they are actively committed to fanning the flames of racial division and violence. We were outraged to read President Trump’s comments early this morning that threatened protesters with murder. The phrase 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts,' is deeply grounded in the history of Jim Crow state violence and repression. To watch the President use this phrase in a moment of national crisis is to watch a man utterly unfit to lead this hurting multiracial, multiethnic nation.
In the spring of 1967, when an earlier uprising tore through Minneapolis, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King visited the city and noted that popular violence didn’t just appear out of thin air. 'I have an obligation,' he said, 'to vigorously condemn the conditions in our society that cause people to feel they have no other alternative than to engage in self-defeating violence. Riots are the language of the unheard. Our summers of riots are caused by our winters of delay.'
We can no longer refuse to hear. The clamor for justice is too loud and too urgent."