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(Updated) Powerful words on the protests by King County Executive

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

In an employee newsletter, we got the full body of Dow Constantine's Twitter from Sunday (used here with permission).

"A message from the Exec

(Preface: I’m sorry for the many people who gathered to peacefully, earnestly protest injustice – an act of civic responsibility of the highest order – only to have the day & message hijacked by violent opportunists. This isn’t about the rioters.)

We all know what we saw in Minneapolis. A court will make the legal determination, but we all saw black man’s life – George Floyd’s life – slowly and painfully ended, without justification, and in the name of the state – on our behalf.

And we all recognize that it likely would not have happened that way if he was white. And that it’s not an isolated outrage, and not limited to law enforcement, and not confined to any one corner of this country. You see that. I see that.

I also see my friends, relatives, employees of color in pain. In fear. Afraid of their own country, and its deep, unresolved problems with race.

The deep-seated racial bias woven through virtually every institution in our society will take an extraordinary, united, sustained toil to extract and destroy.

Generations have tried. And though in some ways consciousness has never been greater, the past few years have been a period of retrenchment for America.

We must keep trying, keep working. In King County, we strive to be racially just. It’s one of the core values we work towards every day.

Our values define the way we act, what’s important to us, and our expectations for ourselves and one another.

I know I’m not alone in feeling I haven’t always been loud enough. For white people, it can feel awkward – like you’re trying too hard.

But if we care about our nation, and about people, then we’ll have to risk saying the wrong thing sometimes.

And just say it. Say that we see the injustice.

I see it. Let’s keep working together to make it right."

I emailed him, thanking him for his leadership and his eloquence. And I thought it was very cool that he was out there Sunday working with other county employees to repair the damage so county buildings could open on Monday to serve our citizens.
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