The Killing of George Floyd
In Boston we are physically miles away from Minneapolis. But no American city, and, really, no American citizen is separated from what we have seen this week in vivid detail. The killing of George Floyd has catalyzed reactions across the nation. It has done so because it is not a singular, isolated event.
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis this week was morally wrong and must be legally prosecuted. To say this is to state the obvious, but it is worth saying because there is a powerful link between the moral and legal dimensions of the killing which has now sparked protest across the country. As a nation we entrust power, even lethal force, to our government and its representatives in law enforcement. But there are both moral and legal limits to how force can be used. If officers of the law use force in the way millions of us saw in an eight-minute video, then trust in the government, in the law and in the legal system is deeply wounded. That is why the legal prosecution, following constitutional standards, must proceed with care and urgency. The police failed the moral test in George Floyd’s case; now the court will be tested. What is morally wrong must be pursued vigorously by legal standards. That much is lucidly clear.
There is a history here, one documented over decades in print, and now in social media and on television in our homes. The history is clear and tragic: George Floyd was an African American man who died at the hands of a police officer. This is a narrative which has been repeated often and in multiple locations across the country. The history is well documented, but it is known experientially in the African American community in a way that is not widely shared.
The wider community is aware of some cases, but the African American community lives with the experience and memories of these deaths in an entirely different way. It is a daily reality – one they must speak to their children about and live themselves with some fear.
This gap between different communities in what is one country, one civic community, is the broader reality which this week’s events force any of us to reflect upon.
George Floyd’s death occurred in the midst of the most catastrophic healthcare crisis in our history. We are all threatened by it. But the African American community has been impacted in numbers far beyond its size in the country. This fact in turn is related to and repeated in other issues of healthcare, employment and housing.
Responding to George Floyd’s death reaches beyond one person to some of what it reminds us about in these larger realities of our nation. In responding to his death, some have used violence. I can understand the frustration but I must strongly oppose those methods. For any of us, the singular voice of Dr. Martin Luther King still rings true: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Your Voice at Beacon Hill
On March 14, in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, I made a very unselfish decision and responsibly suspended my campaign for State Representative until Monday, May 4. This decision was easy for me to make because the health and safety of our community was my ultimate first concern. I was committed to spend 100 percent of my time, energy and resources to help the residents of Everett overcome and flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. I called on Representative Joe McGonagle to join me in this joint effort. Unfortunately, he remained silent to my request.
On May 4, I revisited the timeline of my campaign. I turned in my nomination papers, completed with nomination signatures collected before March 14, to the Secretary of State election division to ensure my position on the September 1st primary ballot under circumstances I could never have dreamed of. I then decided, with my campaign committee, and family to continue focusing my attention to the needs of our community. There has not been a health crisis like the Coronavirus in this country in over 100 years and this was the time that we all needed to work together to get through this as one team.
This week, almost three months since I suspended my campaign, it gives me great enthusiasm that we are seeing great improvement on the pandemic. It also gives me great pleasure to say that I will now turn my focus to my lifetime dream to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative. I believe I have the experience, knowledge, desire, heart and the passion for our community to make Everett proud as YOUR next State Representative. In the coming weeks, I look forward to the many conversations with you directly about my ideas and desire to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. With my commitment and your support, on Tuesday, September 1st my dream to go to Beacon Hill will come true to be the Voice of Everett and serve as your next State Representative.
Michael J. McLaughlin
Candidate for State Representative and Ward 6 Councilor