The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region continues to mourn the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. This horrific killing stands as yet another shameful example of the racial injustice still deeply entrenched and institutionalized in the United States today.
As an organization committed to achieving justice for the victims of the deliberate and systematic killings on the basis of race and ethnicity we know as genocide, and as an organization that continues to combat and condemn the state-sponsored discrimination and incitement of violence perpetrated against our people in the world today, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the institutionalized discrimination and violence black communities face in our country.
We are also deeply saddened by the incitement and escalation of violence occurring across the country. We support the right to peaceful protest as a powerful demonstration of solidarity in the face of oppression. We are deeply concerned by excessive crackdowns on the fundamental right to free speech and assembly that have unfortunately resulted in the death of protesters, and the arrest and injury of journalists. We also strongly condemn the looting and rioting which have destroyed so many small businesses in local communities and have served as nothing more than a distraction from the important message conveyed by peaceful protesters. Such acts have been carried out by a small minority of provocateurs and opportunists and are not representative of the movement or the cause.
We must not allow these isolated incidents of violence to define this movement or obscure the cause for protest: the systemic inequality and injustice faced by communities of color in our country today. The legacy of slavery and segregation is a wound we are yet to close, and one that will continue to haunt its people until the injustice and inequities black communities face is confronted. That process can only start with recognition and accountability.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region stands in solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators in calling for justice for the death of George Floyd and all those who have become victims of racial injustice in the United States.
We call for the immediate deescalation of violence, a more compassionate approach by law enforcement toward peaceful protesters who are simply exercising our shared fundamental right to freedom of speech and assembly, and tangible steps toward finding short and long term solutions. Tremendous change is needed to achieve equal justice for all, and as a community-based organization, we stand ready to be a part of the important conversation to help us all move forward toward reform and mutual respect and understanding.