Later today, in Houston, the body of George Floyd will be laid to rest. Since his tragic and senseless death on May 25, many people have asked how such things can happen in modern-day America. Our society is still striving to fully realize the ideals to which we aspire, and which define who we are as a nation: democracy, human rights, liberty, and equality for all. These core values are enshrined in our founding documents, and represent the promise of America as a beacon of hope and justice.
For all the enormous progress we have made, much work remains to be done. The death of George Floyd, and the injustice of racism, make us heartsick. But in the widespread anguish and the determined protests that have multiplied across America, there is mounting resolve among people of all colors, creeds, and backgrounds that This. Must. Stop. Across the country, there is a crescendo of voices as the American people exercise their rights to free speech, free assembly, and the freedom to petition the government for the redress of grievances. In response, the authorities are taking action to hold themselves to account. In this process, we can witness the open and transparent way that Americans are calling for a new birth of freedom, and working to become a more perfect union. America is more than a beautiful land that stretches from sea to sea, and more than the melting pot of races, religions, ethnicities, and national backgrounds that make up our citizenry. America is also a promise, made to all its citizens, of dignity, guaranteed personal freedoms, and equal opportunities for all. Our struggle to achieve that ideal is unfinished. Americans have a proud tradition of confronting the need for change and emerging as a stronger embodiment of our ideals. I have every faith that through peaceful civic engagement, we will prevail.
In the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., one of our country’s greatest visionaries: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”