May 30, 2020
INDIANAPOLIS, IND – Last night, Hoosiers practiced their 1st Amendment rights in protesting the tragic and brutal death of George Floyd. Although they were not just grieving for George; they were also grieving for the deep hateful history our nation has had regarding the treatment of African-Americans. I am deeply saddened by the terror and violence that George Floyd and countless others have endured. The Floyd family and the many others who have experienced systematic injustice feel outrage in ways hard for those who have never been stopped and questioned and humiliated and sometimes harmed by those sworn to protect us will never know.
I am proud to know that so many Hoosiers are actively working to change our country for the better. Last night many were in the streets of Indianapolis, Ft Wayne and other Hoosier cities peacefully protesting and letting their voices be heard. While the initial protests were peaceful, and I was saddened to see and hear the destruction and violence that followed in Indianapolis and Ft Wayne. It was fruitless and did little to further the righteous cause intended by the original protesters and activists.
State and city leaders have a difficult challenge in these troubling times- navigating the anger caused by witnessing murder recorded by cell phones and police body cameras- during a global pandemic. And as leaders our language does matter. Gov. Eric Holcomb is quoted as saying Hoosiers should “take a breath and be part of the solution”. George Floyd in Minneapolis and Eric Garner in New York were trying to breathe, when their windpipes were crushed, and they were killed by police for allegations of minor criminal violations.
We all want to breathe fresh clean air, free of both tear gas and coronavirus. And it’s our job as leaders to make that happen- and to enable the solutions required.
–Dr. Woody Myers, M.D.