A message from our Executive Director on the death of George Floyd

Five minutes and 53 seconds. That was how long George Floyd was violently restrained with undue force by Derek Chauvin before he was known to be unresponsive. Two minutes and 53 seconds. That was how long Chauvin continued applying unnecessary pressure to Floyd’s neck. Eight minutes and 46 seconds. That is the time it took to murder George Floyd in broad daylight.

It was an abhorrent display of the systemic racial injustice and inequity that continues to erode the fabric of our society. It is an unbelievable tragedy. It never should have happened.

Our communities are hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are sick, out of work, and unsure of when or if their lives will go back to normal. But black communities have been hurting for a long time before this. Plagued by bigotry and hate, black communities have systematically been denied economic opportunity, well-funded education, and accessible healthcare. When our country needs to be coming together, we find ourselves once again torn apart by racism.

We cannot look away.

To my black friends, I grieve with you. I do not know your struggles. I will not co-opt your voice. Instead, I will listen and learn. I will take your lead in the conversation as I stand beside you. I vow to use the privilege inherent in the color of my skin to defend and support you. To my white friends, we must not be complacent.

This is a call to action for all of us, no matter our skin color. Our “leadership” at the highest levels of government, including the White House, continues to fan the flames of ignorance and sanction hate. They must be held accountable.

The people we elect to office shape the policies that can either dismantle or reinforce the institutional racism that permeates our society. Human decency is on the ballot this year. Our most effective weapon is our vote. Use it to elect leaders who will govern with respect and compassion, not foster divisiveness and fear.

Today, and every day, we at Mainstream join those who encounter racism, who are feeling angry, who are expressing their grief. And we must not let those bent on dismantling our communities control this narrative. This is a time for everyone to come together in solidarity, and in love, to stand up and speak out.

We, at Mainstream, pledge to continue working with our partners who are lifting up communities of color. And, I hope you will join us. Together we will work towards a more just society.



Michael Poppa
Executive Director, the Mainstream Coalition

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