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Statement on the killing of George Floyd and racism in America

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Global Health Advocacy Incubator is a project of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The killing of George Floyd under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer has once again and all too vividly reminded us of the deep-seated racism that is far too pervasive throughout our country and our society – made worse by the lack of national leadership needed to unify the country and provide a sense of commitment, compassion and understanding to give hope that we will finally begin to address the root causes. And it comes as the grossly disproportionate impact of the coronavirus has once again shined a spotlight on the disparities and inequality that our African-American population faces.

We should not be surprised that it feels like these events are more than people can endure – and for good reason – or that we are all dealing with our own emotional response. We cannot begin to think we live in a just society unless these events, once and for all, lead to an honest and frank discussion of why the gulf continues to be so great, we have political leadership that unites us rather than pitting us against each other, and we make a sustained, sincere and deep commitment for change. It has been more than 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and yet it keeps on happening.

The problems we face are everyone’s problem and we must all be part of the solution. As an organization and as individuals, we at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids want to express our commitment to do what we can to foster the needed dialogue and to be active participants in seeking solutions.