Statement on George Floyd

mural of George Floyd

Lynn United for Change joins the worldwide call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all victims of racist violence at the hands of police and vigilantes.

The officers who killed George Floyd must be held accountable. That is important, but it is not enough. Increased use of body cameras is not enough. More training is not enough. More diversity in hiring is not enough. Minor reforms have been implemented for years and – as recent events have made so painfully clear – they are not enough.

We support demands for civilian review boards, for stronger policies regulating use of force, for truly independent investigations of officer-involved shootings, and for other measures aimed at protecting civil rights. Those can be important steps, but even they are not enough.

The entire system of policing and criminal justice must be fundamentally changed. This system is deeply rooted in racism, it drains resources from our communities, and it has produced widespread abuse and horrific levels of incarceration.

This failed system hurts people of all backgrounds, and poor and working class people of every racial and ethnic group face unfair treatment.

But people of color – including Black, Latino, and Native American people – are disproportionately harmed by harassment and profiling and face racist disparities in one category after another, from use of force to charging decisions to trial to sentencing.

In this moment there must be a particular focus on anti-Black racism. African-American and Black people have been specifically targeted and deeply harmed since before the founding of this country by police forces, by the criminal justice system, and by precursors to those institutions such as slave patrols.

We need to end racism. We need to put people before profit. We need a shift in public priorities and real investments in education, housing, health care, and restorative justice – not in more police, prisons, repression, and retribution.

We encourage everyone to read and reflect on the Movement for Black Lives policy platform; to learn more about the history of racism and the struggle for justice; to connect with local campaigns for social justice; to support the Black liberation struggle; and to connect with the national Movement for Black Lives.

Thank you to all those raising your voices in protest and organizing for justice in Lynn, MA, in Boston, and across the globe. Let's keep struggling together against racism and for a better world. In the words of the great African-American leader, anti-slavery organizer, and Lynn resident Frederick Douglass: "power concedes nothing without a demand."

* Image from Instagram post. Mural by Xena Goldman with @cadexherrera @gretamclain @maria.javier.98434997 @nikoalexander9 @dog_bowl_repairman @rbbreen.