Michelle Obama Weighs in on Racist Police Violence and George Floyd's Death with Emotional Personal Plea
"I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop," the former first lady wrote on Twitter on Friday
"Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies," the former First Lady wrote on Twitter Friday, sharing artwork depicting Floyd, a 46-year-old truck driver.
"And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop," Michelle continued. "Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on."
"Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it," she said. "It’s up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own."
"It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets," Michelle added. "I pray we all have the strength for that journey, just as I pray for the souls and the families of those who were taken from us."
"It’s natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us," Barack wrote on social media. "But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal.' "
"This shouldn’t be 'normal' in 2020 America. It can’t be 'normal,' " he continued. "If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."
The Obamas' statements come amid nationwide outrage at Floyd's killing, which occurred on May 25.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on camera pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on his neck as he lies face down on his stomach, next to a patrol car.
Chauvin was fired the following day, and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Friday. The other three officers present have not yet been charged, but Freeman said at a press conference that he expects they will be.
"I am not insensitive to what's happened in the streets...[but] my job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence," Freeman answered at the press conference when asked if public pressure played a role in charging Chauvin.
“It will mainly fall on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done,” President Obama's statement concluded. “But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”