Urban League of Louisiana President and CEO Releases Statement on the Murder of Mr. George Floyd
Here we are again…
Grieving with others across the nation over the brutal and horrific murder of another African American, this time, Mr. George Floyd.
The Urban League of Louisiana grieves with Mr. Floyd’s family and the people of Minneapolis over their loss. Their loss is our loss, too. There are not enough words to convey the pain this tragedy has caused in communities and the agony of watching another African-American life being cruelly cut short at the hands of law enforcement. We are beyond outrage and even beyond exhaustion.
What will bring the change that we deserve? What will prevent this from happening again?
Change will begin when system leaders accept responsibility for these types of inhumane acts; when all of us are so disturbed that we can’t sleep, we can’t stop weeping, we can’t think straight and we can’t breathe because of the inequities that too many suffer from every single day. The world will watch this case closely, demanding, expecting, hoping and praying that justice is served. Time will tell. But like too many similar situations that we now know by the names of their victims, this behavior will continue to happen unless we examine the systems that allow them to be repeated.
Based on the tragedy in Minneapolis, clearly captured on video, every police superintendent in America should be meeting with its force to review policies and procedures to ensure that the type of behavior by officers that led to Mr. Floyd’s death is not repeated. The response should not be – “that’s Minneapolis, that’s not us, that can’t happen here”- but rather, “we will not allow that to happen here so let’s do a systems check to be sure we’re prepared.”
When law enforcement systems are checked regularly to ensure policies of fairness and justice are being practiced, we will see fewer incidents.
However, law enforcement systems are not the only systems to be considered at this time. While we focus on the loss of Mr. Floyd, we must also continue to examine other systems including economic opportunity, education and housing and community development, expecting an intentional focus on fairness and justice.
System leaders must look inside themselves to question their personal commitment to equity for all. It is their personal responsibility to become educated about this country’s history and the milestones of racism and bigotry that cause so many to struggle every day. Those who work in systems must understand that their jobs are to practice fairness and justice every day.
Once equity becomes the goal, it can become the standard.
When equity is the standard, we will see the change we deserve.
Judy Reese Morse
President and CEO, Urban League of Louisiana