I am absolutely heartbroken over the senseless and vicious death of George Floyd. That these kinds of terrible incidents still take place in the USA is devastating. Black lives do matter, and this shouldn’t be happening anywhere in our country. George Floyd’s story is only the latest of interminable tragedies caused by the worst kind of discrimination, xenophobia, and oppression. Not surprisingly, demonstrators across the country are lifting their voices in collective anguish.
However, the violence and looting we saw last night was no less troubling. Physical attacks upon innocent residents, efforts to set residential buildings filled with people on fire, and destroying millions of dollars in property was reprehensible as well. I have no sympathy or tolerance for such actions.
As I write this, demonstrators are vandalizing businesses up and down Beverly Blvd. and Third Street in my district. I have asked the LAPD to be completely supportive of peaceful protest, but to clamp down on criminal actions if they occur. My district surrounds the Park, and I will not stand for the lives and property of my constituents being endangered. I have spoken to LAPD command and have made clear my full unequivocal support for our officers to enforce the law and maintain order in the coming days throughout my district, and hopefully throughout the city.
As difficult as it may be to hear the anger and frustration of the demonstrators, we must pay careful attention to what they have been saying. And it starts with our own hearts. We have to be introspective and consider each of our own responsibilities to our fellow human beings. It is on every one of us to begin healing our society by examining every issue whether it is healthcare inequality, economic inequality, or the harsh reality of abject poverty through the lens of racial, social and economic injustice.
These issues are about the right to equality and the right to be respected. It is also simply about love and compassion for our fellow human beings. I can not pretend to have experienced the fear of violence because of the color of my skin nor the personal fear of losing a child to racial violence, however, those of us who are Jewish face anti-Semitic acts and have lost treasured family members in the Nazi era. My father was a Holocaust survivor and as a result, I have spent my career fighting against ignorance and hateful injustice. That drive to “never forget” the atrocities of the Holocaust affect every action I take. After all, we are one humanity no matter the differences in the way we look, pray, experience, and love. Now let’s treat each other that way.