The following is a statement from Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center:
“The pain, hurt, and trauma of generations are on display throughout the country right now. We watched in horror as George Floyd lost his life in an act that was senseless, preventable, and worse – not an anomaly. We face this moment after watching the president embrace armed white demonstrators who overtook state capitols, protesting against safety measures for a pandemic that is disproportionately killing Black families. And in the last week we’ve watched as his response to a country in need of healing has been to encourage either violence or silence.
“Make no mistake – the systems that got us here are not broken, they are doing exactly what they were set up to do. Today, jobless claims have exceeded 40 million, with Black people making up a disproportionate percentage of that population. This is no accident. Black and brown people, especially women, disproportionately working on the front lines of this pandemic in conditions that are inhumane and unsafe, is no accident. Black women thanked for their voting patterns, but ignored when they speak of their higher rates of maternal mortality and sexual harassment, is no accident. Breonna Taylor. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Botham Jean, and more. Their deaths were not accidents, rather tragic consequences of another pandemic: white supremacy.
“What is in fact broken in this country is our leadership, across institutions and especially in our government. We need leaders now, not tomorrow, who will fight for justice, meaningfully respond to this pain, and commit to addressing the root causes of our collective hurt. Without this, fear for the outlook of our nation will rightly overtake any fear we might have to upend the systems that are not serving us. At the National Women’s Law Center, we are committed to this fight, and know that there is no return to normal so long as “normal” devalues Black lives, Black women, and the lived experiences of Black communities. But we are hopeful that this moment in our country might finally be the spark that drives forward a new future worthy of all of us.”