"I want to thank the organizers of Action Corps for organizing this vigil and for all of your important work in solidarity with Black lives to achieve racial justice. I join you, and millions of people around the world, in expressing sadness and anger at the vicious murder of Mr. Floyd. This police murder is an outrage that strikes at the very heart of our society. This one murder is just the latest manifestation of a system that so callously devalues the lives of Black people. So many people are coming together, from all backgrounds, to fight for justice. People ask me, are you optimistic for the future of the country? And I am. Because I see the beauty and the decency in all of you, and so many young people who want to create a better society. People are going to be looking back at this moment as just an unprecedented extraordinary moment in the history of this country, and I thank you for your efforts to bring about lasting change.
"In my time as a United States Senator, I have had moments that made me embarrassed about the state of our country. I have met too many individuals who have suffered from police violence and social and economic neglect. In most cases, these victims and their families have been denied justice by a system that ignores these ongoing assaults against the bodies and dignity of Black people. If ever there was a time for us to address this egregious assault on everything our country is supposed to stand for, now is that time.
"Police violence is not the only manifestation of the systemic racism that is taking place. In recent months, we have seen Black and Brown communities disproportionately ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen Black and Brown workers who earn starvation wages forced to go to work, day in and day out, risking infection and death so our hospitals, meatpacking plants, public transportation and supermarkets can remain open. When we talk about systemic racism, we are not just talking about Black lives killed by police officers with no accountability. We are not just talking about Black lives killed by COVID-19. We are not just talking about the third of Black children in our country living in poverty, and millions of Black kids going to totally inadequate schools. We are not just talking about Black women having a maternal death rate three times the rate of white women, and Black families owning just one-tenth of the wealth of white families.
"Instead, we are talking about a system of pervasive racism that impacts every aspect of Black lives. This has got to end. We need equity for Black and Brown people and for all who are marginalized and made disposable in a system and an economy that treats millions as unworthy of the basic decency of human respect. Our struggle is and has always been about justice – not justice on paper, but real justice in the real lives of real people.
"We have got to end the racism, oppression and massive inequality that currently exist if we are to have a future that is worthy of all of our people and where Black lives matter. I look forward to working with you to achieve this. Thank you once again for the opportunity to offer you my remarks."