On May 25, George Floyd was murdered. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. The emotions that engulfed Minneapolis in flames this week are demonstrations of pain and cries for justice. These uprisings symbolize the hurt, fear and anger that are boiling over in the face of anti-blackness and continued racial and social injustice.
As activists in communities across the country chant “no justice, no peace,” the only choice in front of us is to create a different path. We demand justice be served.
Floyd was unarmed, handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Three officers pinned him to the ground, and one pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and kept it there for more than eight minutes. The fourth officer stood over them and did nothing to intervene. Floyd begged for his life, as did concerned citizens on the street. The cries for mercy went unheard, and cellphone video captured the last minutes of Floyd’s life.
This is a moment that calls for action—action that strengthens our communities. We must lead by example with our students and our communities, and do everything we can not to cause more harm.
Together, we can make meaning of this historic moment. We can talk to our friends and neighbors with unwavering clarity about the death of George Floyd and the systems—not just the individual cops—that have traumatized black people.
We are seeking justice not just for Floyd but for all who continue to fight for social and racial justice while being labeled as “thugs” and despite the fact that President Trump has called for the shooting of citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
All four officers should have been charged immediately, and the fact that they were able to walk freely, while Floyd’s family plans his funeral, is an injustice that has, rightly so, pushed people to the edge.
We’re calling for charges against the other three officers to be filed immediately.
We’re calling on Minnesota’s elected leaders to disinvest from over-policing and over-enforcement and invest in public education, affordable housing and essential community needs.
We’re calling on the media to refocus the narrative on justice for George Floyd and all black people who have been wrongly murdered.
Lastly, we’re calling on our members to stand in solidarity with communities on the ground.
As we work to clean up our city after the damage done over the past several evenings, our hearts are still heavy with the painful truth that George Floyd should be alive today.
Help us honor his memory by using it as a light that guides our nation down a different path free from the pain and suffering we all feel today.
Stand in solidarity with the educators and residents of Minneapolis, and with our union siblings who are peacefully protesting with us, by adding your name to our petition.
We’ll be in touch with more ways to help our community.