‘A knee on the neck of black America’

America is grieving. Another Black American, George Floyd, was senselessly killed by a police officer, adding another name to an already too long list of those lost.

When asked in an interview with PBS Newshour, Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins, who represents the district where Floyd was killed, stated; “It was not only a crime against George Floyd, although he suffered the most deep injustice. But in my mind, it felt like it was a symbol for a knee on the neck of Black America”. In another interview with CNN, Councilmember Jenkins expanded her remarks, saying “Not only do I see these images on social media of Black and Brown men and women being killed by state violence, but also have to see trans identified – mostly Black women – who have been brutalized and murdered by the state, if not by the state. It has been sanctioned by the state. So the trauma that is in our communities is devastating. And it’s brought on by this really horrible disease that is racism.”

We live in a world where generations of systemic oppression and targeted violence can be exemplified in one single, terrible moment. A knee placed on the neck of a man begging for relief. A young women gunned down in her home while sleeping. An innocent man out for a jog, who simply existed in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Too many names, lost too soon.

We are grateful, today and everyday, to Black LGBTQ leaders like Councilmember Jenkins, who use their platforms and presence to fight America’s most grievous disease. We know Councilmember Jenkins well through her time as a Victory Empowerment Fellow and a David Bohnett Fellow, and our nation is fortunate to have her leading right now.

We are honored to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ Black leaders and support them in times of trial, such as these, and times of triumph. Their leadership and contributions cannot be overstated.

Their lives – and all Black lives – matter.

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