Rep. Williams issues open letter to the community in the wake of George Floyd’s murder
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-District 9, Providence) is issuing the following open letter to the community and Rhode Island’s leaders regarding the murder of George Floyd and the unrest in Rhode Island and across the country.
“The unrest and anger resulting from witnessing the open and public lynching of George Floyd seen worldwide is serving for each and every one of us as a daily reality of what has been continuing to occur by the hand of those in power. At the same time, you have those in power conveniently stepping out and claiming to denounce these cases of systemic racism, equality racism, and every other injustice our society faces for their own political convenience. Don’t be fooled and don’t be roped in with these empty platitudes. While many are still in denial, there are many more that can clearly see what continues to happen on our streets across the country. For as Malcolm X once said, ‘You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.’
“If your heart is pure in seeking justice and freedom, fear will not deter you. If you truly believe in equality for all, you will do the right thing for the right and moral reason. But, if you are just a chameleon, taking advantage of this horrendous tragedy and the loss of yet another innocent life, be fearful because we still see you and your motivations. This day is a time for mourning another innocent individual cut down by the nefarious and violent hands of racism, bigotry, and intolerance. Every city, town, state, and country in the entire world is plagued by this same disease and we must realize the cure is already in our hands, but, we must just have the courage and conviction to embrace and execute the solution to our societal woes. Hate will not eradicate hate and in the words of Dr. King, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’
“The time is now. This is not a moment in history, but, the movement of history that we, the people of the United States and beyond, stand in unity for justice for all in the name of George Floyd and the countless other African-Americans who have been taken from their families and communities by ending police brutality perpetrated by bad actors with badges who have unilaterally self-appointed themselves as judge, jury, and executioners while utilizing their police emblems to terrorize and destroy the black community.
“Malcolm X said, ‘You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.’ For the African-American community, we speak of the freedom to walk down the street without being murdered. We speak of the freedom of encountering a law enforcement officer without the possibility of ending up in a body bag while being handcuffed. We speak of the freedom to have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream, not the American Nightmare too many of us currently face.
“If our Rhode Island and congressional leaders truly desire change and unity as they claim, we need to make our institutions reflective of the society that they serve. Our dedicated state police officers of color need the promotions that they deserve and earned rather than being consistently passed over. Our community of color needs to stop being victimized by our court system and we need more than token representation on our judicial benches. We need to stop appointing judges with connections to those in power rather than the qualified and excellent candidates of color who continue to apply to open positions on the judiciary, only to be rejected in favor of those with deep pockets and influence. We need to stop outsourcing jobs to those out of state, forcing our children to leave their homes in order to find work, because we have capable and outstanding talent within in our own borders who are simply starving for a chance at a successful and prosperous life.
“We are done being the window dressing to disguise the mess that you have made. We are done falling on your sword to then be tossed aside in favor of others with more clout or pull with the decision makers. Do not only seek us when you need us. We are all in this together in Rhode Island, even if our state still suffers from the plantation mind-set set in motion centuries ago. We cannot let hate win. I am a member of the solution, as are so many others, are you? What are you going to do and contribute without the fear we deal with, prepare for, look out for, and suffer from on a daily basis? What actions will you take and when will you step up to fight for equality?
“We are tired of our brothers’ and sisters’ last breathe being televised across the world to foment more fear, division, distrust, and hate. We are tired of being passed over, left aside, and set against each other for the sake of our own survival. We are tired of being seen as criminals and lower-class citizens. And we are tired of being beaten while handcuffed, being stopped and frisked, of being profiled, and living in a constant state of fear from government officials. Dr. King said, ‘True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.’ I hope our Rhode Island and congressional leaders heed his words wisely, for if they truly believe what they say when in front of news cameras, true systematic change should be imminent and permanent, while demonstrating to the undervalued, the oppressed, the forgotten, and the persecuted that we truly do live in a state where justice for all remains supreme.
The governor stated, ‘The state has always stood for freedom.’ To her I say, prove it.”
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903