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Rep. Clarke: Violence Against and Hatred of Black Americans Is Morally Reprehensible

Brooklyn, NYCongresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) issued the following statement in response to the murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd by Minneapolis Police and the resulting riots and protests.

“As Americans woke up this morning to the news of riots in Minneapolis as a result of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man murdered by police, and the arresting of a Black CNN journalist covering these protests while his white colleague was left undisturbed, we yet again are witnessing our history play out in front of us—a history underscored by prevalent racism in America, even today in the 21st century. This violence against and hatred of Black Americans is morally reprehensible.”

“Racism has been in America’s genetic code from our country’s inception—resulting in an ugly, cruel history against people who are not of white, western-European descent. Today’s current administration has actively fanned the flames of unrest and racism. In the midst of the protests last night, 45 tweeted: ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts,’ only to repeat the statement from the official White House twitter feed hours after public admonishment from Speaker Pelosi and others. If these words and statements from the highest office in our government do not mean anything, no statements from the government can hold weight in the eyes of the American public. As past protests in Charlottesville and 45-inspired terrorist attempts have shown, violent rhetoric inspires some people to commit violent acts.” 

“When public officials across the country prioritize order over justice, we get Minneapolis after generations of concentrated disadvantage and administrative targeting of the Black community. When we empower or incentivize the police to value property and order over human lives and justice, we get Louisville. Solidarity protests in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere prove that these moments will impact America across the country far removed from any single catalyzing event. Far from being isolated incidents spontaneously springing from discreet incidences of blameless police misconduct, the events of the last few weeks are just the latest iteration of a pattern that has been repeated for hundreds of years in America.” 

“When New Yorkers said Amy Cooper’s actions were indicative of a widely held and damagingly displayed sentiment felt by many Americans, many claimed this was an overreaction to media manipulation. With CNN Journalist Omar Jimenez getting arrested on live television, despite calmly stating his 1st Amendment Right to report on the prior incident or his white counterpart did not experience similar police harassment, I hope this moment will help illuminate to many why Black people in America feel disenfranchised and beyond the protective covering of the rule of law.” 

“In no uncertain terms, the President of the United States has called for state-sponsored violence against Americans. Thoughts, prayers and matching rhetoric will not solve this problem or help ease tensions throughout the country. As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect our elections so that the people can voice their disapproval in November but we also must take swift action to stop the bleeding. If we do not act in a timely manner to use the checks and balances afforded to us as a co-equal branch of government, we will undermine the legitimacy of our republic and give the public little reason to believe in the efficacy of democracy.” 

“Americans deserve leadership from the top, not a bigot who encourages racism in his words and by encouraging violent actions. Today we remember, honor and stand up for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the other Black Americans slaughtered by police. Never should a human life be stolen from someone because of the color of their skin. These officers who murdered George Floyd must held accountable by being charged with and convicted of his murder.”