DNC Caucus Chairs’ Statement on the National Day of Mourning
June 4, 2020
Black Caucus Chair Virgie Rollins, LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes, and Women’s Caucus Chair Lottie Shackelford released the following statement on the National Day of Mourning for George Floyd. They are joined in solidarity by DNC Chair Tom Perez, AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong, Hispanic Caucus Chair Iris Martinez, and Native American Caucus Chair Rion Ramirez:
“Mere weeks ago, we were devastated by the news that frontline medical worker Breonna Taylor was gunned down by the police in her own living room. A few short weeks later, we learned of Ahmaud Arbery, who was hunted down like an animal and murdered by two white men while he was jogging. And just a few days ago, we saw George Floyd die as a police officer knelt on his neck until he choked to death. All of this, while tens of thousands of Black men and women are dying across the country due to a deadly pandemic that President Trump failed to take seriously.
“Today, we mourn not just George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and Ahmaud Arbery. We also mourn Botham Jean, Eric Garner, and Philando Castile. We mourn John Crawford, Trayvon Martin, and Walter Scott. We mourn Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland. We mourn Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, and Laquan McDonald. We mourn Amadou Diallo, James Byrd Jr., Yusuf Hawkins, Emmett Till, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Wesley. We mourn the almost 4,000 men and women who were lynched in the 100 years after the Civil War, who were victims of a centuries-long systematic effort to terrorize Black people. We mourn every Black life taken by police brutality and systemic racism. We mourn generations of Black Americans, stretching back 400 years, who have been killed, beaten, raped, tortured, exploited, imprisoned, and executed because of the color of their skin.
“These past few months have been a stark reminder to the entire nation that the Black community has our health, our livelihoods, and our lives at stake in this election. The systemic oppression that has gripped our communities—from the arrival of the first slaves in Jamestown, to the coup d’etat by white segregationists in Wilmington, NC in 1898, to the destruction of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street in 1921, to the violence that met Civil Rights activists across the South in the 50s and the 60s, to the devastation of the crack epidemic in the 80s and the 90s, to the police brutality of today–have broken our families and dimmed our vision for a better world.
“But just as the Black leaders of the past always found the courage and strength to keep going, so shall we. It’s the courage of activists who rode for freedom and workers who marched for jobs and justice. It’s the courage of all those who sat in, stood up, and spoke out for equality. And it’s the courage we see today in the young people across this country who are working tirelessly to make change. Racism is systemic and its roots run deep and wide, but we have never been naive about the persistence needed to defeat racism and the strength necessary to carry on the fight. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, and what impacts one of us affects all of us. This is why we cannot do this work alone, and we stand with our partners and allies to push past violence, destruction, and hopelessness to build a better future for our country.”