Governor Phil Murphy began his daily COVID-19 briefing by honoring the peace actions of the weekend seeking justice for the late George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago.
“I support these protests and I thank the thousands of residents who peacefully and respectfully took part,” said Murphy. “This is a transformational moment of our time. …Peaceful protesting is the way we get to a better place.”
He addressed the apparent disconnect between his own executive order shutting down nonessential businesses and his support for the protests, which concentrated populations in violation of social distancing.
“It’s one thing to protest – I don’t want to make light of this and I’ll probably get lit up by everybody who owns a nail salon in the state, but it’s one thing to protest what day nail salons are opening and it’s another to come out in peaceful protest overwhelmingly about somebody who was murdered right before our eyes.
“I will say this – there were a lot of masks, which is encouraging,” he added.
The names must be said again and again.
He recited some of the names of African Americans “who lost their lives for no reason other than the color of their skin.”
Black Lives Matter, said Murphy.
“People with privilege are now recognizing those without,” he added.
He praised Newark Mayor Ras Baraka for marching with those seeking justice on Saturday.
“We will not let a small number in our state who wish to harm our state distract us,” Murphy added. “We will continue to listen and to stand in solidarity. The pain of yesterday and the pain of today does not have to be the pain of tomorrow.”
New Jersey can be a leader in the cause, he said.
“Our work is not done. We have to make generational, permanent change in our state, in our country, and we will.”