From the desk of Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota
Our community has suffered a terrible tragedy that has deservedly drawn nationwide condemnation. On Monday night, less than two miles from our Minneapolis campus, George Floyd suffered, cried out for help and lost his life while being restrained by police on suspicion of a non-violent crime.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and all those who mourn this tragic loss. The shocking manner of George’s death will reverberate throughout our community and within all of us until we make lasting change in the value, respect and dignity afforded to people of color.
A video captured by a bystander and shared on social media has made many of us witnesses to the horrifying and inhuman incident. To hear George repeatedly plead, “Please, I can’t breathe!” as an officer kneels on the back of his neck is truly disturbing. His suffering is evident. The calls for compassion and mercy from gathered onlookers also go unheard by those entrusted to protect and serve.
This should not have happened. George’s life mattered and he deserved better. His death reflects deeply ingrained, long-standing conflicts within our society. While no one should rush to judge, I applaud the swift action of Minneapolis authorities to fire the officers involved. A thorough investigation is warranted: George’s family deserves justice, and the officers involved need to be held accountable.
Children’s Minnesota will also be requesting a meeting with Police Chief Arradondo to express our concerns and determine how to assure that such behavior would not occur in the context of our partnership with Minneapolis police.
This event is painful and traumatic for our entire community, especially our communities of color and children who will be impacted by this trauma and grief for years to come. Indeed, all of us who have read this story or seen the video are feeling sadness, or anguish, or anger, or all of these and more. Know that you are not alone, and don’t hesitate to share your feelings or seek help as you process your feelings.
As individuals and as an organization, we must commit to dismantling systems of bias, structural racism, and white supremacy to ensure all children in Minnesota are safe. As the Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” The responsibility to create a more just and equitable community lies with all of us.
Marc H. Gorelick, MD, MSCE
President and Chief Executive Officer