County Executive David Crowley released the following statement concerning the multiple days of protests and unrest surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the continued brutalization of black men and women in America:
“A fundamental tenant of the American idea is that every person has the freedom to make their voice heard. What we have seen over the past few days is not random, unjustified unrest. What we are seeing are marginalized groups of people making their voices heard in a society that tries harder every day to render them voiceless.
Change is desperately needed. The murder of Mr. Floyd was another in a long line of unacceptable, unjustifiable, and indefensible killings of black men and women at the hands of police. The status quo is unsustainable. We need fundamental change in the way we handle police-community relations, the way we treat communities of color, and the way we allow each and every person in our society to make their voice heard in our democracy.
We have started this process in Milwaukee County by committing to achieve racial equity and ensuring that every decision made at the county level is made through the lens of racial justice. But that’s not enough.
I read an interview with a young black man taking part in a protest elsewhere in America last week. He said, ‘I’ve written my Senator. I’ve written my Congressperson. I’ve called my state senator, my state representative, my city council member. Nothing has changed. I just don’t know what to do anymore.’ What we have seen the past few nights is the result of our communities who bear the brunt of each and every one of our societal ills being ignored and marginalized for far too long. What we have seen is the result of these communities – of which I am part – not knowing what to do anymore. What we have seen is the voiceless reclaiming their voice.
We need to make sure our black siblings, parents, children and neighbors are no longer scared for their lives when they leave the house. They have been telling our establishments of power that change is needed for decades. It is time to listen to them.
At the same time, we need to stop the gerrymandering, stop the voter suppression and stop the denial of participation in the political processes for our black and brown communities. It’s all connected; when large swathes of our community are disenfranchised and rendered voiceless, they will make their voices heard from other avenues. And this unrest is one such avenue.
The time for change is always now. I stand with my brothers and sisters who are making their voices heard and hope that the events of this weekend will serve as a turning point in this nation when it comes to race relations and how we treat our fellow Americans.”