AUSTIN, TX - The National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter (NASW/TX) condemns the incitement to violence issued by President Trump in a May 28 tweet in which he referred to protesters in Minneapolis responding to George Floyd’s murder as “thugs” and proclaimed that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
This is an unquestionably racist quotation uttered by a Miami police chief in 1967 that spurred race riots at the Republican Convention the following year. Using the word “thug” is thinly veiled code meant to dehumanize and demonize Black protesters.
Advocating armed attacks against Americans enraged at the continued treatment and violence perpetrated against Black citizens is beyond egregious; it is horrifying and disgraceful. It highlights again, that it is still not safe to be a Black person in this country, and that the inequities in our systems extend beyond economics, beyond education, beyond health care and target the basic survival of persons of color. We cannot stand idly by and watch men such as George Floyd lose their life to police brutality, and we cannot ignore the rage delivered by communities who rightly believe that at any moment George Floyd’s fate could be theirs.
Now is not the time to condemn the protests but to listen to the message at their core: America’s leaders are not addressing racism in this country. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed that “a riot is the language of the unheard,” and these violent protests are manifestations of internalized racial oppression/ inferiority.
When a people gets tired of not being seen, not being heard, not having their lives matter, they find ways to be seen and heard by exaggerating their visibility. NASW/TX does not approve of looting and destruction in our communities, but the solution is not a criminal justice one. It is preventing the next outburst of justifiable rage by actively working to make our systems and culture anti-racist.
This will not be an easy task, and it will take a massive effort by all levels of leadership alongside our communities. That starts at the top, and as his response shows, President Trump will not make that change and is actively resisting such changes. We must turn our voices to activism, hold the president accountable for his words and actions, examine the privilege we bear and filter all of our advocacy through the lens of race equity.
NASW/TX remains committed to speaking up about and supporting our members as they take action and organize around issues of racism in our state and beyond, and believes the start to finding solutions begins with voting and racial justice organizing. We must hold forums, trainings and conversations that tackle white privilege and racism head on, and as a chapter we plan to offer those opportunities to the broadest audience possible.
The fact another life, of someone with inherent dignity and worth, was taken by unchecked police power and state violence and can be directly connected to the murders of other peoples of color across our country cannot be tolerated. We mourn for all who have lost their lives and share their families’ grief, and we pledge to work to transform systems and end the targeted violence.
SOCIAL WORK ACTION:
- The Breakdown with Dr. Earl: A Mental Health Podcast
- The Homecoming Podcast with Dr. Thema
- FLOYD to 55156 to demand that the officers who murdered George Floyd are charged with murder.
- ENOUGH to 55156 to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. The officers who murdered her still have their jobs.
- JUSTICE to 55156 to demand that the District Attorneys involved in Ahmaud Arbery's case are removed from office.
- Minnesota Freedom Fund, local bail fund. Protesters are being arrested and needing to be bailed out.
- Minnesota ACLU
- George Floyd’s family gofundme
- Justice 4 Jamar: a grassroots organization that helped organize the protest yesterday and regularly organizes protests and support for individuals and their families impacted by police violence in Minneapolis.
- Black Vision Collective, Minneapolis-based Black Lives Matter group
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (612) 673-2100
- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz: (651) 201-3400
- District Attorney Mike Freeman (612) 348-5550 **request he pass the case on to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in addition to reading the suggested script below:
"My name is (FULL NAME). I am calling to demand that murder charges be filed against Tou Thao #7162 as well as any additional officers at the scene for the murder of George Floyd. I am also demanding that there be no grand jury barrier before charges are filed. And that loud support and action should be behind legislation to abolish paid leave for violence committed against citizens as well as barriers for hiring/firing offenses be put in place for officers with a history of violence against citizens as evidence of likely escalation of violence. These murders have a chilling effect on the entire population. I and many others do not feel safe calling the police for fear of the violence they will commit. I refuse to be a catalyst of someone's murder."
- SEND A LETTER to The Estate of George Floyd at c/o Ben Crump Law, PLLC, 122 S. Calhoun St., Tallahassee, FL 32301, Attn: Adner Marcelin