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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL)

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POCI Caucus Statement on the Anniversary of the Murder of George Floyd

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, May 25, is the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. The Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus released the following statement:

“We must ask ourselves: What has truly changed since last year? The fact remains that another name continues to replace George Floyd. Black men are still dying at the hands of law enforcement. Trust between our communities of color and police remains at record lows. BIPOC communities still do not feel that police keep them safe. Republican colleagues continue to devalue our lived experience and the experience of our communities as they use our calls for change as bargaining chips to secure tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Yet, we know we can never return to a world before the murder of George Floyd, our mindset on how our communities are affected by police and what role they play in our safety has permanently shifted. Whether this is a true sea change that will impact our entire nation remains to be seen. While the murderer was held accountable, and we managed to pass a modicum of police accountability legislation last year, we are meeting increased resistance from the status quo against our calls for more significant reforms.

“While our world has changed, the laws through which we experience and manage our world have not changed nearly enough. Unless we enact meaningful reform, distrust, disenfranchisement, and disinvestment will only continue to grow in our communities. It is time our laws, systems, and real implementation of public safety catch up with this new worldview. There is no going back to a pre-George Floyd world, and it is our duty as legislators to adapt our society to this new reality so we may ensure safety, justice, and peace for all.

“On the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, let us remind ourselves how we got here and commit to taking action so history does not yet again repeat itself. As we approach a special session, where we will agree on our next budget, we must pass legislation that will transform our public safety and justice systems. We are ready to meet the moment, we now ask our Republican colleagues to cease their obstruction so we can improve the safety of all Minnesotans.

”At the center of all of this is a human being who was taken from his friends, family and loved ones before his time. His family’s pain and trauma is unimaginable, and we continue to mourn this tragic loss of life along with them. We continue to ask our community to fight for justice, fairness, equity, and the sanctity of life. We must all work towards a more humane public safety system that values Black lives.”

The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus includes Reps. Esther Agbaje (59B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Cedrick Frazier (45A), Aisha Gomez (62B), Hodan Hassan (Vice- Chair 62A), Kaohly Her (64A), Athena Hollins (66B), Fue Lee (59A), Carlos Mariani (65B), Rena Moran (65A), Mohamud Noor (60B), Ruth Richardson (52B), John Thompson (67A), Samantha Vang (Chair, 40B), Jay Xiong (67B), Tou Xiong (53B), and Senators Bobby Joe Champion (59), Omar Fateh (62), Melisa Franzen (49), Foung Hawj (67), Mary Kunesh (41), Patricia Torres Ray (Chair, 63).