Before closing the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s 2020 State Convention, Chairman McNamara delivered the following remarks:
Thank you, again, for joining us tonight. Before we go our separate ways, I want to say a few words about recent events in our country, including the tragic and senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th.
Over the last few weeks, the eyes of America were forced to relive those tragic 8 minutes and 48 seconds and to take a hard look at who we are as a people.
Like you, I’ve had many conversations about that horrific video footage and have come to this important conclusion: we cannot turn away until we figure out what it’s going to take for this nation to end such bigotry, because when George Floyd said the words “I Can’t Breathe”, our collective breath was being taken away.
Each of us, whether white or black, rich or poor, gay or straight… each of us must take personal responsibility for stopping bigotry when we face it. That starts with one simple question. What one thing are we willing to do, to fight systemic racism?
When a friend or a colleague or a neighbor says something we know to be racially-insensitive, do we shrug it off and just say ‘that’s what that person is like.” Or do we stop them and say – ‘You’re wrong. What you’re saying is bigoted and wrong-minded?”
We all have a chance – as Democrats, as Americans, as human beings – to change the arc of history. As President Obama often reminded us, “We are the change we have been looking for.” Each of us can make a difference in that moment, and in the bigger picture. But each of us has to be willing to step up and take personal responsibility to do that.
Our nation is founded on the principle of ‘all men being created equal.’ Let’s give it more than lip service…let’s finally do something about it. Now is the time to commit that we will root out racism in every aspect of our society.
No more suspending black and brown kids more than whites for the same disruptive conduct in the classroom. Our kids deserve better.
No more paying minority workers less than their counterparts for doing the same work. Our co-workers and employees deserve better.
And yes, no more police interactions that force us to remember senseless tragedies like Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin. They all deserved better.
Let’s commit to tearing down the structures of systemic racism in our society, and finally live up to the promise of America – for all people once and for all.
The black community deserves nothing less. George Floyd and his family deserve nothing less. Justice requires nothing less.
I’d now like to ask for a moment of silence in George Floyd’s memory.