Dear friends. I have been trying to find a way to put into words how I feel about the sickening murder of George Floyd, but also what has been happening since then, with the rioting and rampant looting and destruction of property, which affects everyone, also the innocent; including other minority groups who own much of that property and who depend up it for their livelihood, which for some took them years to build up since they immigrated to America from lands of less opportunity. Their children suffer as well.
As a “white” gal, I’m not sure what my place or voice is in all this. As a “white” gal it can be challenging to speak out without possibly getting it wrong. So I was very happy to find the words of another mother instead. One whose words in this situation strike me as far more relevant. This amazing woman, the mayor of Atlanta, says it all.
I’ve transcribed the Mayor’s speech, which you can read below the embedded video.
We have these key things in common, Mayor Keisha and and I: We’re both mothers. Both mothers of four children. And we both care about people. All people, and their rights to equal treatment, and access to equal opportunities.
But I’m a mother of four white children, rather than four black children; in Europe, rather than America. Due to chance (being born into a white middle class family in Canada), I was born with privileges that I might never have noticed or thought about, unless my own mother had not told me how good I had it every day of my life, always pointing my gaze to those less fortunate, whether it was the white guys asking for money near the local shops, to whom she always stopped for a chat or to give some money, or the immigrant refugees to whom she taught English at a local high school.
Regardless of skin colour or background, many mothers feel the same all over the world on certain core issues. The main thing is that most of us want all the children of the world to be safe. And most of us want our kids to grow up respecting the bodies, beliefs, businesses, and property of others. You don’t get more by causing others to have less, while hurting thousands or millions of innocent people in the process.
Destructive rioting is not the answer. It’s a violation of human rights.
Please… if you truly care at all about this cause, watch this video and/or read her amazing words for yourselves.
[YouTube vid: Atlanta mayor tells protesters: Go home! Full video] “As demonstrations turned violent in Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms delivered an impassioned speech urging protesters to go home Friday night. Bottoms was joined by Atlanta entertainers Killer Mike, whose real name is Mike Render, and T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris, as well as Bernice King and Civil Rights leader Dr. Joe Beasley.” ~ 11Alive, YouTube, May 30, 2020
Speech by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
(transcribed by LTP)
“Let me just speak to what’s happening here today.
“Above everything else, I am a mother.
“I am a mother of four black children in America. One of whom is 18 years old.
“And when I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt.
“And yesterday when I heard there were rumours about violent protests in America I did what a mother would do. I called my son and said, ‘Where are you.’ I said, ‘I cannot protect you, and black boys shouldn’t be out today.’
“So you’re not gonna out-concern me and out-care about where we are in America.
“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day.
“So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.
“A protest has purpose.
“When Dr. King was assassinated we didn’t do this to our city.
“So if you love this city — this city, that has had a legacy of black mayors and black police chiefs and people who care about this city, where more than 50% of the business owners in Metro Atlanta are minority business owners — if you care about this city, then go home.
“And pray that somebody like Reverend Beasley will come and talk to you and give you some instructions on what a protest should look like, and how you effect change in America.
“This police chief [points to Atlanta police chief Erika Shields] made a video yesterday — pull it up on YouTube — where she said she was appalled to watch the murder of George Floyd. This woman did that.
“You’re not honouring a legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. You are not protesting anything running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city.
“T.I., Killer Mike own’ half the West side, so when you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.
“If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9th. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.
“You are disgracing our city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city, we are better than this as a country. Go home. Go home.
“In the same way I couldn’t protect my son yesterday, I cannot protect you out in those streets.
“You are throwing knives at our police officers, you are burning cars.
“You have defaced the CNN building.
“Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta 40 years ago because he believed in who we are as a city.
“There was a black reporter who was arrested on camera this morning, who works for CNN — they are telling our stories. And you are disgracing their building.
“This is not the legacy of civil rights in America. This is chaos, and we are buying into it.
“This won’t change anything, we are no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man.
“We are talking about how you are burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Go home.”
~ Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Friday, May 29, 2020
For further watching/reading:
Thank you for all your amazing support, as always. You are wonderful. Thank you for reading. Let’s keep listening and discussing. And vote. If you are American, please educate yourself, and get ready to vote, in the November 3, 2020 election. xoxo “Lia” 💛🏹💃🏼