Like many of you, we in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus are struggling with the death of George Floyd and working to understand what equity is and how it is understood by different people. The events in Minneapolis unfortunately represent a pattern of violent incidents resulting from the fundamental misunderstanding of what equity means: from the lynching of Emmett Till to the beating of Rodney King to the shooting of Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. All were victims of an unjust and unequal society that fails to see the humanity of every person regardless of their race or ethnicity.
As a nation, we will never be able to deliver equity or justice to a family or a community if we do not understand their lived experience. Feeling the same moral outrage after witnessing multiple similar events over the last few years, many of us joined you in the streets for peaceful protests and calls to action. Unfortunately, many of us have also witnessed these peaceful and Constitutional gatherings turn dark, as the messages of peace and unity were supplanted by people seeking to wreak havoc and sow discord. We have condemned the theft and vandalism while protecting our own homes and communities.
No one who believes in the equity of human beings can justify what happened to George Floyd, nor can they justify the disproportionate response with which many peaceful protests were met over the past several days. Nor can anyone who has examined the state of our union over the last several years disagree that racial inequity has been allowed to fester and grow throughout the country. From law enforcement to education to health care, institutions of government cannot be allowed to willfully close their eyes to the plight of others. We know racism, prejudice and bigotry have no place in public policy, and must act like it. This moment of tragedy has given us yet another opportunity to dismantle and replace mechanisms that perpetually lead to negative outcomes for so many. PA Senate Democrats continue to aggressively pursue legislative change to bring equity in the face of injustice. Our humanity will lift us out if this moment of profound pain, and we can move toward a future where everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve.