Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON – Three years ago today, George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. This tragedy was yet another devastating, culture-shifting inflection point in our history, creating an America before and one after. And while Floyd’s death forced us to finally confront institutional racism embedded in our systems of police enforcement, little has been done in terms of reform to dismantle it. In fact, a growing number of people – and leaders – are actively working to bury these hard, but important, cultural truths.
Congress has yet to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act after its introduction in 2021. Fatal police shootings have increased in the two years that the bill has languished in the Senate, with Black and brown people killed at more than double the rate of white Americans. Instead of advancing federal legislation that would hold law enforcement accountable, the House actually overturned a resolution in the District of Columbia that would have banned police practices like chokeholds in the city and expanded public access to officer disciplinary records and body camera video. We also continue to be overwhelmed by news reports of police from around the country who weren’t charged or were acquitted for killing civilians.
Meanwhile, extremists are intent on demonizing words like diversity, equity, and inclusion, gaslighting people into believing they’re divisive. Both Florida and Texas recently banned state funding for DEI programming at public universities and more than 10 other states like Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, and South Carolina hope to follow suit.
If 2020 was a boiling point for racial justice in America, 2023 is settling into an ice age. But, we must remember George Floyd’s legacy to prevent this movement from freezing over. We cannot afford to stand by and allow the loudest voices in a small room to stall our progress. Our fight continues – from the classrooms to the courtrooms to the halls of Congress.