Civically engaged citizens peacefully demonstrating against injustice is key to American democracy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released a statement from CEO Arturo Vargas on the recent protests across the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota:
“Our hearts are with the family of George Floyd, the people of Minneapolis, and cities all across the nation as we mourn Mr. Floyd’s death alongside the countless others who have been victims of injustice. We raise our voices in solidarity with calls for equity, fairness, and equal protection under the law. We hope that the Floyd family will find justice in the wake of their loss and that communities throughout America will heal from the pain of this tragedy.
“The constitutionally-protected acts of civic engagement through peaceful protest that we have seen throughout America over the last week is a testament to what makes our democracy strong. That the public is able to voice its grievances, peacefully assemble, petition its government, and call for change by having its First Amendment rights respected, is paramount to maintaining the tradition of American democracy, our constitutional freedoms and protections, and the rule of law.
“As we support a civically engaged public, it is important to note that those who coopt and detract from these movements by inflicting harm and injury do nothing but exacerbate existing tensions and divisions for their own personal gain and self-interest. These efforts work against the meaningful progress that so many community-based organizations, local leaders, and policymakers have made in their tireless work to address injustice.
“We recognize the wounds of systemic racism in the United States that we are all working to heal. We understand the common denominator of hatred behind those injustices as they seek to besiege and silence those they oppress. We want that to change. NALEO Educational Fund continues to promote equity in our democracy to bring social justice for all Americans. We stand in solidarity in support of basic human dignity and against systemic racism, violence, and discrimination of any kind.”