Following a week of protests across the country to demand justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and an overhaul of a policing system rooted in racism and violence, Brent J. Cohen, executive director of Generation Progress, released the following statement:

“In the week and a half since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers, we have seen an outpouring of pain, anger, and grief at the systemic racism that has resulted in the murder, disenfranchisement, and economic and educational exclusion of Black Americans since before this country was founded. Yet as Black people and allies have taken to the streets in recent days to demand justice and speak out against the systems that purposely and perpetually harm them, they have been met by brutal violence from police again and again.

We have watched in horror as local and federal police agencies and the National Guard have utilized an unprecedented level of military-grade weapons and power to intimidate protesters exercising their rights to free speech. In D.C., where Generation Progress is based, we have seen peaceful protesters tear-gassed to clear the way for a photo op for President Trump, during which he called on Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights—which many took as a call for further white vigilante violence against Black protesters. 

Our society was built on principles of equality and justice, but those ideals have never been realized. It is impossible to move forward as a country until we address this deep-seated and dangerous dissonance. For this reason, we must demand justice for individual tragedies like the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, while also loudly and forcefully pushing lawmakers at the local, state, and federal levels to take decisive action to dismantle systems that are built on white supremacy.” 

Generation Progress has created a resource page for those looking for information on how to support anti-racism movements. We encourage young people to review these resources and use our collective power to demand justice for Black Americans and an end to this cycle of state-sanctioned violence.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Emily Leach at eleach@americanprogress.org.

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