Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for peaceful protests and justice in George Floyd case

PHILADELPHIA, May 31 The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement on the ongoing protests in Philadelphia:

“George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Antwon Rose. Eric Garner. Michael Brown, Jr. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. The list of black and brown mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and children who have needlessly lost their lives at the hands of police officers is not a new trend, but in America, it is a consistent trend with roots as old as our nation. 

“After each loss, we speak out. We march. We raise our collective voices against the oppression that is still forced upon our communities. We protest peacefully to share our collective outrage at the loss of a future, at the loss of an individual’s contribution to society and to their family. We must continue to insist on the humanity that every American is promised regardless of the color of their skin.

“We saw protests this weekend across Pennsylvania at the grave injustice that occurred to George Floyd. Men and women of all colors and ages came together to say no. No, this will not be normal. No, this cannot continue. And no, we demand justice for George Floyd. Unfortunately, despite the overwhelmingly peaceful protestors, outside agitators used our protests as an opportunity to co-opt our message and instead of march for respect and justice, they acted out to loot and damage. 

“This is unacceptable and only serves to undermine the seriousness of why we protest. We appreciate the actions taken by Governor Tom Wolf to recognize our right to protest injustice and help keep our communities, and our peaceful protestors, safe while weeding out those whose goal is not to be heard but to sow further discord and divide. We must continue to advocate, support and stress nonviolent tactics in the struggle for justice. 

“These repeated incidents are not isolated tragedies perpetrated by “one bad apple.” They are signs of a systemic failure. They are signs of engrained structural racism that has been built up in America over centuries. Being killed by the police is a leading cause of death for black men in our nation, and until we systematically address that and the power structure that allows it to exist, these tragedies will continue.   

“We must honor those who we’ve lost in these senseless acts and commit that in their memory, we will not be quiet and we will not rest until we create a more equal and just democracy for all Americans."