Our voice is BUILDing
April 20, 2021.
Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today regarding the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Dear fellow state employee,
The killing of George Floyd and the justice done today is about more than the death of one person. These events were a trauma for George Floyd’s family, his children, the bystanders and indeed the entire nation.
Weary families in so many communities, traumatized by images of brutality against Black and Brown people and no power to stop it, can take heart today that justice was served in this senseless killing. Yet, there is still much work to do. This is one step on a long journey we are just beginning.
We all recognize that one instance of justice is no solace to people who for hundreds of years have had their lives shaped by persistent oppression based on their skin color and who live daily with unjust discrimination and interference in their daily lives.
Today is a day for all of us to recommit ourselves to a more perfect union in our communities, our agencies and our nation. Let this be the beginning of progress rather than the end of one trial. Today’s sense of relief for some is fleeting. They know more must be done to prevent this from happening again and again. We must end systemic racism. Institutional reform and the removal of the principles of injustice from government policies and practices is an urgent course we must take.
But ending systemic racism goes beyond our justice system.
Our communities will not be at peace until everyone feels secure to do the most basic things. I’m talking about the right to vote. Or the right to get in the car and drive anywhere safely without fear of being killed. To walk down any street in America or go shopping at the department store without being selectively followed. To work regardless of what your hair or skin color looks like. To rent or buy a house in the neighborhood of your choice, or to get an insurance policy without being asked for a credit score. These ordinary activities must be available to all.
The impacts associated with the outcome of this trial can touch us in unique ways. I do not pretend to know how this may intersect with your lived experiences or those of your family, friends and community. If you need assistance in working through the impacts, I encourage you to reach out to our state Employee Assistance Program. The EAP team is working to make sure that we have sufficient resources and support. Click here to visit its website. I have also asked my team to work closely with your agency leaders to learn more about possible additional resources and support during this time.
We must be proactive – from those of us in elected office to those providing services in our agencies – to turn the tide of injustice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “the moral arc of the universe” bends toward justice, but it takes all of us to usher it into existence.
You will hear more from your leaders in the coming days about the actions your agency will take to ensure everyone in Washington flourishes and achieves their full potential and there is equity and justice for all.
Very truly yours,
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