For far too long Black Americans have suffered under the yoke of racism which all too
often results in death as was the case with George Floyd and countless others. For far too long the voices of our black friends and neighbors have been silenced or ignored. We are here to say “enough is enough.”
As our country experiences a time of uncertainty and unrest, it falls on all of us to stand up and speak out. So today, we say that we apologize to the Black, Latinx, Asian, and all other minority communities for not doing enough to be with you, to fight for for you, and to defend your rights as Americans in the struggle for justice and dignity. As representatives of the Democratic Party, we encourage all to work toward ending racism through education and awareness--ourselves included.
In a recent statement, the Maryland Democratic Party said “no black man or woman should walk out of their houses and fear that they will never return. No black man or woman should feel unsafe in his or her own homes. No black man or woman should be afraid to go to a park or to church.” We couldn’t agree more with this statement, and we unequivocally recognize that black lives matter.
We applaud those who are taking a stand and peacefully demonstrating their anger, frustration, grief, and dedication to real change. We also appreciate the support of police around the country, including our own Hagerstown Police Department, who stated “We want all of our public to know that we stand firmly with officers all across this nation condemning the death of George Floyd. It is sad, tragic, and completely senseless.”
It is clear that police reform is needed. As reported in Politico: "Better training is the most urgent priority, and national standards would also help American police be more effective," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum. "What happened in Minneapolis was a complete failure of training and policy," Wexler said.
While the U.S. has a national policing problem, there is little national policy in place. The federal government stepped back from the minimal oversight it did provide when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the Justice Department's oversight of local police departments in 2017.
Now is our opportunity to come together, to have these conversations, and to push our elected officials to enact real change. Join us in making lasting and sustainable change in our community. We may not have all of the answers, or even know all of the questions, but together we can find a way. Silence is unacceptable.