This week, my administration released new guidelines as part of Colorado’s Safer at Home — and now, Safer in the Vast, Great Outdoors — phase of our COVID-19 response. These new guidelines thankfully relax a number of additional restrictions on our economy and society. As I’ve said before, we are going to have to find a safe and sustainable way to live with coronavirus until there is a vaccine or a cure.
But first I want to address the hurt and anguish so many have been feeling this past week, myself included.
Like many of you, I was outraged at the unjust murder of George Floyd and relieved that the officer who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even while he cried out “I can’t breathe,” was arrested and charged. I call for all others involved to be held accountable because no one should be above the law.
The reality is that this is much larger than the need to hold one officer or a few officers accountable. It’s about a pattern of injustice and unfair treatment that Black Americans and communities of color have endured, not only in our criminal justice system, but in every aspect of American life. We need to listen to the voices of those who are crying out for reform, and we need to take action.
I have a message for all of those who have put their lives on hold to protest hundreds of years of injustice: I see you, hear you, and grieve with you. More importantly, I want to work with you. We need to keep the focus on the task at hand.
It’s unfortunate that the destruction of property during these demonstrations has undermined the positive and righteous messages of justice, equality, and reform. But property damage can be repaired, and it pales in comparison to the damage done to countless black lives throughout American history — a pattern that unfortunately continues to this day.
The responsibility must be shouldered by us all — White, Black, Brown, local, state and national leaders and our law enforcement community, many of whom have shared with me how angry they are by the actions of the Minneapolis officers.
The responsibility to speak out cannot solely fall on the shoulders of Black Americans. The responsibility must be shouldered by us all — White, Black, Brown, local, state and national leaders and our law enforcement community, many of whom have shared with me how angry they are by the actions of the Minneapolis officers. Not only because it was an unjust killing, but because it tarnishes our honest and hard-working police officers and sets us back in our mission for reform.
While these protests are ongoing, I also encourage all to remember that we are in a global pandemic. We should remember and remind our loved ones to wear a mask, keep a minimum distance of six feet, and stay at home whenever possible. I know that the strength of our spirit as Coloradans will embolden us to take care of one another, and create a better, more just society together.
Thank you for raising your voice.
Jared Polis is the Governor of Colorado.
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