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Statement by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer on Recent Protests in Los Angeles

To all the communities in the struggle for equality and positive change across our country, I understand and know your anguish and anger.

My family has a legacy of involvement in the civil rights movement. My uncle was part of the Little Rock Nine who suffered immense racism because they were integrated into a white school in Arkansas in 1957.

As a black man born into poverty, bussed to an all-white junior high school, I know the struggle to be treated with respect.  Attending USC and Harvard, I navigated the indifference in our educational system and learned first-hand post-graduation that institutional racism exists in every facet of our society.

The senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd is yet another stain in our country’s history and warrants disgust, frustration and true action be taken to root out systemic racism in institutions holding power and authority over civilians.

Our voices are being heard through the multiple peaceful demonstrations that have lifted the tragic loss of Mr. Floyd to an international arena.

We will have positive change resulting from this negative and horrific event. Elected officials, including myself, are demanding immediate hearings in congress on race-relation issues including a review of use-of-force policies within our nation’s police force and the creation of a national task force on racism with community organizations and stakeholders serving as the majority of national members.

Although I do not condone violence, I do know our anger is real and that buildings can be repaired and rebuilt. I am also aware there are many who see these times of struggle as an opportunity to loot – they are not focused on the movement, the message, or the purpose behind our protests.

We must all strive to work on institutional change that reveres compassion, liberty, and equality.

At this time, I urge fellow protesters to be vigilant in maintaining a watchful eye on the arrests and trials of the those involved in the killing of Mr. Floyd. Continue to voice your opinions, your truth and be peaceful advocates for change to help actuate real and positive change.

Be safe. Remain Strong. Stay awake.