Our hearts were heavy as George Floyd was eulogized this week. His murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer is still difficult to process 11 days after the video began circulating worldwide. The only answer as to why this happened is a culture of police brutality combined with the viral plague of white supremacy. After 244 years, our nation has yet to rectify its original sin of racism.
The reality is that we all live in a country where endemic police brutality has lined with blood the still-redlined streets of our nation. These same streets now teem with peaceful protesters, many who have fallen victim to the same police violence they are denouncing.
The death of George Floyd — and other Black people before him killed at the hands of the police — is an affront to our organizational value of fairness and equity. To combat this violence against Black Americans, MEDA strongly commits to immediately taking the following actions:
- MEDA vows to reach out and further engage with Black leaders and organizations, leveraging our long-term relationships to actively listen, hearing those who may have not been heard prior in their asks for bold policy change that mandates fair treatment under the law.
- MEDA vows to echo the call for justice as proposed by George Floyd’s family.
- MEDA vows our support for peaceful protests as a means to putting forth a critical message of support for Black Americans,
- and sparking real, transformative change.
- MEDA vows to use our voice and place at the table to stamp out police brutality against the Black community, recognizing that such incidents have not just occurred in Ferguson or Louisville or Minneapolis, but in our own Bay Area backyard. This history of local prejudice is evidenced by: SFPD texts, discovered in 2011-12, calling African Americans a number of racial slurs and inciting racial violence; and the officer-involved shootings of Oscar Grant, Mario Woods and countless others.
- MEDA vows to back measures that encourage reform and strengthen the Black community. For example, we offer support to San Francisco Mayor London Breed for yesterday announcing that in the next City budget she will look to redirect funds from the Police Department to the Black community. We trust some of this funding will be earmarked to build the capacity of Black-led organizations to reverse the trend of displacement in their community.
We must also call out not just blatant acts of racism against Black community members; more subtle, though no less egregious, acts of aggression occur daily. Case in point: George Floyd had the police called on him by a storekeeper on the presumption of guilt. Would the police have been called if Mr. Floyd was white? We know the answer.
To our Black brothers and sisters: We stand with you; we take a knee with you. Black lives matter to us.