Harrison Statement Regarding the Murder of George Floyd and an Historic Weekend of Civil Unrest

Dr. Brigid Harrison, professor of political science at Montclair University.

Statement from Brigid Callahan Harrison, Democratic Candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s Second Congressional District

Regarding the Murder of George Floyd and an Historic Weekend of Civil Unrest

“We have been witness to an historic few days for the entire country – and hopefully, with the right, needed leadership and vision we will find the power to adapt, change and listen, to what Lincoln once called, our ‘better angels’.

“This weekend, while so many of us mourn, parents throughout South Jersey and the country are attempting to translate the images we are seeing on television to our children and explain our country’s past – and too many families still live on a daily basis with the racism and hatred that permeates our society.

“In an era in which the President of the United States embraces white supremacists and Jeff Van Drew pledges undying support to that president, we all know that a lack of leadership is part of the problem.

“The Trump era has meant that deep-seated institutionalized racism, bigotry and hatred has again become legitimized and supported on the national stage. I have witnessed first-hand the new level of empowerment felt by racists in my own multi-racial family.   But the optimism that we have all seen emerge in our country during our darkest hours, can provide us the opportunity to change.  As my friend U.S. Sen. Cory Booker stated it eloquently, ‘The question isn’t are you or are you not a racist. The question is what are you doing about it? You can’t just not be racist. You have to be anti-racist. You have to be actively confronting it.’

“We know that the deep-seated racism that permeates our society cannot be changed overnight, but the struggle for civil rights in the United States has taught us that the true ideals of democracy is our most powerful ally in addressing hatred and discrimination.

“Over the next several weeks, as I have over the past several days, I will continue connecting and listening to the stories and experiences of black and brown men and women in our many communities, family members and friends, experts and citizens to craft a series of specific policy proposals that will provide measurable action to obtaining results and strengthening South Jersey’s voice during this important moment.  But right now, as we begin this new work week, like many parents around the country, I want to share that I am simply heartbroken for both our country and so many people of color who have continued to watch person after person die at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them.

“Time and time again, our country has failed families like the Floyds, who are now dealing with a loss and a void that no family should ever bare.  And time and time again, our work as parents continues into a new week.

“Like the millions who have shared their voice, I am angry, full of emotion, and stand united in protest of the murder of George Floyd.

“If we choose, we can find strength to sustain our emotions beyond this initial moment, so we can propel solutions.

“If we choose, the darkness we are all feeling as the close of this weekend can become a beacon that creates the light that is so needed at this moment in our country’s history.”

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