Former President Barack Obama is speaking out about the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, while calling for a new “normal” in the United States.
In his statement, which he shared on Twitter, the president also referenced the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while jogging down the street; as well as the incident involving Christian Cooper, who was harassed by a white woman who threatened to call the cops on him for asking her to leash her dog—noting that these are the sad, “normal” realities of Black life in America.
“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us,” Obama wrote, referencing the current crisis with the novel coronavirus COVID-19. “But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’— whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”
The former president insisted that we should not accept this as normal; and he called on everyone, including those in law enforcement, to come together to seek justice and bring about a “new normal.”
“It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done,” the president said at the end of his note. “But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station—including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day—to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”