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“We cannot miss the moment and cannot look a system in the face and simply call for a tranquilizing drug of gradualism. America was and is a bold experiment. But she will not be OK on her own,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Florida Education Association recognizes the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers as an unspeakable tragedy.

Sadly, police brutality against the black community has been an ever-present occurrence; these are not isolated incidents. It is becoming increasingly painful as we continue to view, much too often, videos of inhumane treatment of black men, and an increasing number of black women.

The uprisings and protests in Minneapolis and other locations across this country, including the state of Florida, are a result of the anger, fear, sadness and distrust that have manifested for years throughout our communities.

Further, the Florida Education Association stands in solidarity with our sister union Education Minnesota and their local affiliates the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals Local 59, as they call for systemic and structural change of the Minnesota police force and justice for George Floyd.

I was saddened and dismayed to witness the murder of George Floyd, but I am heartened because people recognize that we cannot normalize this behavior from law enforcement and, more importantly, that this will not be tolerated in a civilized society.

Systemic change is within our grasp if we unify our voices, keep insisting that structural change happen, vote, and believe that humanity and dignity are due to every person regardless of race, creed, or background.

The Florida Education Association does not condone violence or unlawful activity of any kind, but we do encourage our members to give our full voices to our democracy and exercise our right to peacefully protest, demonstrate and speak out against injustice.

Civic engagement and quality public education are at the core of our beliefs and values.

As education professionals, we will continue to call out injustices when these values are compromised.

— Ingram is president of the Florida Education Association.

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