Racism Is a ‘Pandemic’ Amid George Floyd Protests
Speaking his mind. George Clooney claimed “America’s greatest pandemic” is “anti-black racism” as people across the country continue to demand justice after George Floyd’s death.
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“How many times have we seen people of color killed by police? Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald,” the 59-year-old actor began in a powerful essay addressing police brutality and systemic racism, published in The Daily Beast on Monday, June 1. “We don’t know when these protests will subside. We hope and pray that no one else will be killed. But we also know that very little will change.”
Clooney’s thoughtful tribute comes one week after Floyd, 46, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held him down on the ground for over eight minutes. The incident was filmed in a now-viral video, which shows Floyd telling the officers, “I can’t breathe.” Though Chauvin was arrested — and the other three officers involved were fired from their posts – protestors around the nation are refusing to stay silent.
George Clooney at Variety Studio at TIFF presented by AT&T during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2017. Shawn Goldberg/Variety/Shutterstock
“The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we’ve grown as a country from our original sin of slavery,” the Up in the Air star wrote. “The fact that we aren’t actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system. We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. … This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we’ve yet to find a vaccine.”
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The Oscar winner is the latest of many celebrities to show their support for those who are taking action against injustice in the wake of Floyd’s death. On Sunday, May 31, NBA legend Michael Jordan encouraged his fans to “show compassion and empathy” during this difficult time.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough,” Jordan, 57, wrote via Instagram. “I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others.”
As the country continues to mourn and fight back against Floyd’s unjust death, Clooney and more of Hollywood’s biggest names reminded their followers that there’s one very important way to make their voices heard.
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“So this week, as we’re wondering what it’s going to take to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems, just remember we created these issues so we can fix them,” Clooney concluded in his essay. “And there is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote.”
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