George Floyd

George Floyd: George W. Bush speaks out on racism and protests in US

Former President George W. Bush issued a statement on the death of George Floyd, stating that that he was “anguished” by the incident and calling “for America to examine our tragic failures” when it comes to racial injustice.

George Floyd: George W. Bush speaks out on racism and protests in US
OLIVIER DOULIERY AFP

The world has been shocked and outraged after the death of George Floyd. The 46-yer-old African-American man died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest on Monday May 25.

Violent protests have broken out across the United States since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground. There has been an outcry of support for Floyd and growing calls to tackle racism in the USA and across the world.

GERMANY PROTESTS PANDEMIC CORONAVIRUS COVID19Berlin (Germany), 30/05/2020.- A person walks past a graffito showing late George Floyd, in Berlin, Germany, 30 May 2020. A bystander's video posted online on 25 May, appeared to show George Floyd, 46, pleading with arresting officers that he couldn't breathe as an officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bush statement

Former President George W. Bush released a statement calling for the country to unify after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that have erupted across the country in the following week.

Full statement:

Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice  and fear that suffocate our country. Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures – and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.

It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.

America’s greatest challenge has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. The doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union. The answers to American problems are found by living up to American ideals — to the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal and endowed by God with certain rights. We have often underestimated how radical that quest really is, and how our cherished principles challenge systems of intended or assumed injustice. The heroes of
America — from Frederick Douglass, to Harriet Tubman, to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr. — are heroes of unity. Their calling has never been for the faint-hearted. They often revealed the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America's need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised.

That is exactly where we now stand. Many doubt the justice of our country, and with good reason. Black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions. We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress. But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.

This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion. There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared  commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice. I am confident that together, Americans  will choose the better way.

George Floyd protests: live coverage

You can follow live coverage of the protests over the killing of George Floyd here.