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Michelle Obama Responds to George Floyd’s Murder

On Friday, former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a statement about the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed by a police officer named Derek Chauvin.

“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies,”she wrote. “And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on. Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets. I pray we all have the strength for that journey, just as I pray for the souls and the families of those who were taken from us.”

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On Friday, Barack Obama also released a statement about Floyd’s unjust death.

“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. 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,” his statement reads, in part.

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During his commencement speech to HBCU grads earlier this month, Obama addressed the inequality in the U.S., as well as the challenges black Americans have to face just to achieve a college degree.

“And let’s be honest: A disease like this just spotlights the inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” he said, referencing the coronavirus pandemic. “We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning. Injustice like this isn’t new.”

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