(The following statement regarding the death of George Floyd was issued on June 3, 2020 by Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr., the president of the National Black Catholic Congress.)

My fellow citizens of these United States of America, we have witnessed in graphic video detail, racism on display in the 21st century in the killing of George Floyd, an arrested, unarmed, handcuffed and subdued black man by a white police officer, who refused to acknowledge a fellow human being’s cries of distress.

The National Black Catholic Congress (the Congress) joins the nonviolent calls and protests for a complete and transparent investigation of the killing of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along with a call for investigation and justice, the Congress echoes Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, in which he states in part, “…Let us pray for comfort for his grieving family and friends, peace for a hurting community and prudence while the process moves forward. We need a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and veritable justice…”

Justice is what Mr. Floyd and his family and friends deserve. Justice through equal and fair treatment under the law is what every person in this country deserves. Justice brings about peace, and peace allows love to flourish. This is what the founding fathers of this country tried to promote in the Constitution and what this nation fought a Civil War to uphold, that ended 155 years ago. 

However, the racism brought on by the enslavement of Black Americans in the years leading up to the establishment of the United States of America to the Civil War, still exists and all too frequently displays its ugly effects today in racist attitudes and actions that discriminate one people from another.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.” He also wrote, “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Today, as we seek justice for George Floyd and his family, each of us must commit ourselves to the untiring pursuit of justice, peace and love for every person in this country; because, together every person in this country makes us the United States of America.