Like the rest of the world, East Enders were shocked and horrified by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, and the violence and chaos that followed in streets of major cities around the nation. NY State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (1st Assembly District), of Sag Harbor, shared some words about this moment on Monday, decrying Floyd’s killing as “an egregious criminal act” and noting, “…no one can afford to be silent if you care about our country.”
Below is Thiele’s message in its entirety.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the unrest that has erupted across the nation, no one can afford to be silent if you care about our country. Justice for all is the foundation of our democracy. The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. can help illuminate the path forward for our nation as we seek to get closer to that ideal of justice.
King stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” In the spirit of those words, I condemn the murder of George Floyd as an egregious criminal act. All of those who participated in that act must be brought to justice.
I also support the constitutional right of American citizens to protest. To protest against injustice is the foundation of our American democracy. Change never comes easy. Protest has been at the core of needed change throughout our history. It is clear that this is not an isolated incident. It has been repeated too many times across our land. Yet, nothing has changed. I support those who petition their government to change the circumstances that continue to lead to these injustices.
At the same time, violence solves nothing. As Dr. King said, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
It is time for each of us to do what we can to light a candle and help drive out the darkness. It is my hope that the State Legislature will be part of that effort.
Transparency and accountability are a necessary part of driving out the darkness. Action is necessary now to enact the reforms needed to restore trust between law enforcement and every community that they serve in our state and nation.
Video below from The Washington Post.