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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Not only is it a tragedy that the United States still experiences the level of racism which makes the murder of George Floyd possible, but if it’s to change then all Americans have to make that change, according to Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ).
African American himself, Booker was reacting to the murder of the 46-year-old Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn., last week, at the hands of four police officers, most notably the white Derek Chauvin.
While all four officers have been fired, and Chauvin has been charged with Floyd’s murder, the incident has sparked protests–sometimes violent–in Minneapolis and nationwide.
“I say all the time if America hasn’t broken your heart, you don’t love her enough. There are deep injustices,” said Booker, who also has been a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. “The reality for issues like this as time goes on beyond this is going to be the test of whether we understand that peace is not nearly the absence of violence but the presence of justice and so many people are living in this country without peace with every single day fear.
“It’s been 30, 40 years since my parents had this conversation with me, where there was fear in their eyes and realize my parents, my heroes were afraid of police officers and I had that conversation,” Booker added. “I wish we lived in a nation that 30-plus years later there weren’t still hundreds of thousands of parents feeling like they have to teach their black boys how not to get killed by police.
“And so there’s a consensus–and I know this from friends of mine on the other side of the aisle–they know racism exists but I’m not a racist. The question if racism exists is not: Are you or are you not a racist, it’s Are you or are you not doing something about racism?” he said. “Because racism and toxins that promote such injustices in our society don’t just go away. It’s not enough not to be a racist, as Angela Davis said, you have to be actively confronting the truth within our society of raising it up so there can be a deeper healing and finding a constructive language for our country to have conversations not only after some horrific act of violence but in the aftermath of that to prevent more acts of violence to come, we have work to do in this nation to heal and to come together and to realize we belong to each other and we need each other, but right now, the data that we see from employment information all the way to marijuana laws where no difference between blacks or whites for using the drug but there was more marijuana arrests in 2017 than all violence crime arrests combined and blacked were four times more likely to be arrested for it.
“These are data points that do not speak to the heart and the realities each data point impact the lives of people who are being destroyed and can’t get a job, can’t get a loan from the bank for doing things two of the last three presidents admitted to doing. There has to be people right now sitting at home watching this, watching what is going on,” Booker said during an on-air interview. “They cannot allow their inability to do everything about the problem in America to stop them from doing something more than they did in the last stretch since the last videotape captured what is a regular occurrence in America. If you are not changing, then nothing will change in this country.”
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