The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis, MN, police officers on Memorial Day is only the latest example of the harm done to black and brown individuals, families, and communities because our country has yet to come to terms with its built-in racism. Too many of our brothers and sisters are forced to live in constant fear that they, or their children, will be the next to see their life changed or taken for no reason other than the color of their skin.
As Somerset County has become more diverse, we have taken significant steps toward ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard, not the least of which was the selection earlier this year of Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson, a Black woman, and Deputy Director Sara Sooy, a Latina woman. We as a committee and a community were thrilled to see this change at the top of our county government, but it is not nearly enough.
The murders this century of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have provoked outrage among the citizenry but been ignored by those in power. Too many mayors, freeholders, state legislators, governors, and presidents have been willing to turn a blind eye to the systemic racism stemming from our country’s original sin.
Following George Floyd’s murder, many Somerset County Democrats participated in protests in New York, Newark, Franklin, Trenton and Asbury Park, expressing their outrage and demanding solutions. We hear the protestors, support the protestors, because we are the protestors. But it will take more than marching and speaking out to bring about the profound change our country needs.
To join the Somerset County Democratic Committee in electing transformational candidates to office to municipal, county, state, and federal office, visit http://somersetcountydemocrats.com, or call us at (908) 526-2065 and we will connect you with the campaign or organization of your choice.
We must ensure that those in power also hear the protestors and begin working to make real, systemic, and transformational change necessary to rid our government, police, economy, and all other aspects of American society of the racism that daily harms so many of our citizens. And for those in positions of authority who don’t hear the call, who refuse to support all of their constituents, who continue with the lie that they don’t see color, we need to remove them and replace them with people who will.
With each passing day, it becomes painfully more obvious that Republicans have abdicated any sense of responsibility for addressing systemic racism. Instead of healing the country, President Trump orders federal police and National Guard troops to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters so he can stage a photo op showing, in his own words, “DOMINANCE” over Americans exercising their constitutional rights.
This failure of national Republican leadership has, sadly, infected our local GOP elected officials as well. Our Republican Freeholders have yet to comment on the George Floyd murder or the peaceful protests here in our own county and beyond, but they have the time to post Facebook “humor” comparing American suffering from COVID-19 to people with STDs. The fact is, they have no interest in addressing the real and vital concerns of the very constituents they are supposed to be serving.
We call on all the protestors and those who support them to get involved in the political process. If you are not registered to vote, get registered today. If you are registered, register your neighbors and friends and religious congregants. Volunteer for local, county, and state campaigns to make sure that the winning candidates in November this year, next year, and every year thereafter are eager to truly support one America and allow everyone to enjoy its promise.
George Floyd did not have to die. If we elect the right people to lead our government, the people who hear the protestors, we have a chance to ensure that the next George Floyd lives a long and fruitful life.