Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s (D. MN) re-election campaign:
After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, I have heard the pain and grief, the anger and exhaustion of people in our community, crying out in response to this devastating loss of life by the police who have sworn to protect and defend us.
Dr. King once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met.”
I feel deeply saddened by what is happening in the city that I love, the state I love, the place where we raised our kids — but I know it’s because we haven’t acknowledged and done the work to face the systemic problems rooted deep in our history.
As a country, we have so much difficulty facing the racism that is our history, and this is true also in Minnesota. When we see it, we explain or turn away rather than facing the injustice full on. In this moment, we need to break through that.
We cannot look away from the reality that a man was killed by a police officer, while others watched him plead for his life. We cannot look away from the reality that a woman, Breonna Taylor, was killed by police in her home in Louisville. We cannot look away from the reality that a man, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed while out jogging. This is not a single instance — it’s a repeated pattern that goes against our humanity and everything we know is right.
I have spoken with many community members and leaders over the past few days. As Reverend Billy Russell said to me, “We need to make it right. It’s not right now, but we need to make it right.”
To make it right, we need consequences and accountability, not explanations. We won’t get there through “better training” or “improved policies and procedures.” Our work is to root out the culture of racism and abuse of power at the heart of a system that allows the Black community and so many other marginalized communities to be killed, abused, and taunted by law enforcement over and over again.
Hoping this will get better is not a strategy. We need to address the systems of oppression that perpetuate this violence and that failed to provide justice to Jamar Clark and Philando Castile. I will work for justice to be served for George Floyd, and I will fight to fix the systems that allow this injustice to be perpetuated.
This community is ALL of our community — and part of our community is hurting. The only way we are all safe is to acknowledge what happened and work to seek justice.
This seat in the U.S. Senate belongs to all Minnesotans, and especially the unheard who wait for the justice they deserve, and I will use it to lift up their voices, and their families, and their experiences.
P.S. If you’ve been wondering what you could do to help, I encourage you to donate to two organizations, Minnesota Voice and We Love Lake Street, that are doing important work to give back to the communities of color that have been impacted by this tragedy.