Darius Rucker Speaks Out amid George Floyd Protests: 'The Whole Thing Breaks Me Down to My Core'

"It is no longer alright for me to perpetuate the myth that things are okay," Darius Rucker said

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Darius Rucker is addressing the ongoing civil unrest occurring throughout the United States in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died last week while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

The "Wagon Wheel" singer, 54, released a lengthy statement on Instagram Monday, where he shared that he's "been sitting here trying to figure out what I wanted to say."

"This whole thing just really breaks me down to my core," he said. "My heart goes out to George Floyd, his family and friends, and to all those whose loved ones have been taken because of the color of their skin. No man should die that way. I cannot watch that without tears welling in my eyes and a raw feeling of pain. The men who did that should face the justice that is promised by our laws."

"2020 has already been heartbreaking," the country star added. "Now, here we are having to again face the truth of racism and the pain and frustration of the African American community. As an American, a father, a son, a brother, a singer, a man... I have faced racism my whole life, from kindergarten to the life I live today. Racism is not a born thing; it is a taught thing. It is not a strong belief; it is a weak belief. It is not a financial issue; it is a hatred issue."

Rucker went on to say that "over the course" of his life, he felt he had to put racism down as "that's just the way it is." But now, he sees things differently.

"It is no longer alright for me to perpetuate the myth that things are okay," he said. "I have kids whom I love and cherish, and to watch them go through this, to feel their anguish and anger trying to deal with this is heartbreaking for me. The question that keeps coming up is 'will it ever change?' And my answer now has to be 'YES.' "

"We have to come together somehow, y'all," Rucker noted. "The only way it will ever change is if we can change people's hearts. I don't know how we are going to make that happen, but I am ready to try everything we have to do, because we need to do better."

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"I really hope that we get better as a nation," he said. "My request to you guys is to search your heart on behalf of all of us, and root out any fear, hate or division you have inside of you. We need to come together."

Rucker concluded his statement with a quote by American novelist James Baldwin: "We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and the right to exist."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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