As I write this today, my heart is broken – for my city, for George Floyd and his family, and for our black and brown citizens who are disproportionately impacted by police violence. Seeing Mr. Floyd pinned to the ground pleading for his life is horrific, painful for us all, but even more so for those who can see themselves and their loved ones in that position. It is a visceral pain that demands justice and calls for healing and reform. The pain of continued injustice and now the destruction of our community leaves us all aching for fundamental change, change that fixes the flawed democratic institutions that abide deep-rooted racism, and change that addresses the structural inequities that devalue black lives and threaten the health and safety of our communities.
Unfortunately, rather than uniting us to solve problems, some politicians are already using this tragedy to ignite their base or turning it into a political blame game to score points heading into the November election. We’ve seen this same dangerous strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s especially dangerous now in responding to peaceful demonstrations while preventing attacks in our community by unknown rioters. Racial inequities must be addressed and not used as a political football. Now more than ever we need leaders who can unite, and bring healing but who also have the bravery to lead and change systems.
Fortunately, we do have the power to change. The promise of America is found in the inalienable rights of equality, liberty, and justice for all. We have the power to fix a broken system and realize that promise. We can reform our democratic institutions through collective problem-solving that roots out racism, fixes structural inequalities, and builds healthy vibrant communities for all people in all neighborhoods. We can work to stop the gridlock and remove impediments to change. Such systemic change requires a sustained, collective effort, but we can do it if we all join together. We must do more and we must do it now, and we at FairVote Minnesota are committed to working for a system that treats all of our citizens as full citizens.
Let’s use this moment to demand the change we need and ensure that all of us, particularly those most impacted by hatred and violence, are protected, treated equally, and empowered in our democracy. You can help our communities right now who have been most severely impacted by this moment by donating food or cleaning supplies, volunteering or helping businesses get back on their feet, and expressing solidarity with all our neighbors. Let’s start by rebuilding our physical structures but let’s advance by building new institutions and systems that allow the benefits of democracy to be fully experienced by all.
Thank you. Please stay safe and well.
FairVote Minnesota Executive Director