From the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement on nationwide protests, including in New Mexico, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minnesota:
“The righteous demand for justice, equality, and an end to systemic racism and violence against Black Americans and other people of color is echoing across New Mexico and the nation today. Elected officials at every level of government owe it to those who have been killed – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans before them – to pay attention to the millions of people crying out for real change. We must listen to the pleas for action to end police violence and racism against minorities, take action to fix a broken criminal justice system that disproportionately targets minority communities, and work to end the disparities that deprive minority communities of equal opportunities in this nation. And as we undertake this work, we must actively seek to include and listen to Black Americans and others marginalized by our political system.
“We must take action to address the generations of pain being voiced in the streets of every major American city today. The overwhelming majority of people participating in these protests are doing so peacefully, in response to the discrimination and systemic racism that have robbed people of color of their lives, their voices, and their freedom. It extends beyond issues of law enforcement and policing: while millions of Americans take to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, they are doing so against the backdrop of a pandemic that has disproportionately killed Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, and decades of rising inequality and environmental pollution that hit minority communities the hardest.
“As we hear the justified anger that is being voiced across this nation, I believe we must also speak out in a unified voice against counterproductive acts of violence and destruction committed by a very small subset of people trying to take advantage of these protests. So too must we condemn the equally unacceptable acts of escalation and brutality committed by some in law enforcement, including assaults against protesters and the targeting of media with pepper spray and rubber bullets. This cycle has only been worsened by the president’s insistence on stoking violence, while he shrinks from the job he was elected to do and refuses to acknowledge the anguish of millions of Americans he was elected to serve.
“This is a moment that cries out for national leadership, but unfortunately, the president is only offering unhinged threats of violence against Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. So it falls to the rest of us – protestors, law enforcement, local and community leaders, religious leaders, elected officials on all levels– to chart a better path forward together. Not by sweeping these issues under the rug, or hoping they’ll go away on their own, or by threatening illegal and violent oppression like sending American soldiers to shoot their fellow citizens. But by peacefully confronting these difficult truths about systemic injustice and racism head on, and working for real reforms to end the excessive use of force by law enforcement, bring real accountability and transparency into the justice system, and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“Like so many others, I hope – and believe – that this can be a turning point for our nation, a moment when we channel the pain felt by so many and turn it into action to bring this nation closer to its ideals.”