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Day of Mourning and Lament

A Statement From Mayor Victoria Woodards on Day of Mourning and Lament

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 2, 2020

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications,tjumper@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152
Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

 

A Statement From Mayor Victoria Woodards on Day of Mourning and Lament


“Faith leaders across the country, and across traditions, set June 1, 2020 as a Day of Mourning and Lament to reflect on the more than 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19. 

How fitting is it that this day also marked one week since the tragic and unacceptable death of George Floyd? 

As Mayor of a city where almost 11 percent of our population is African-American, what we have witnessed as a nation hurts me deeply and personally. I wake up every day living the life of an African-American woman, and I am reeling in pain.

As many have noted, we are fighting two viruses – the virus that is COVID-19 and the much more insidious virus of systemic racism. Both are claiming lives. 

This is a time like no other in our lifetime. We are walking the razor’s edge of a critical tipping point in history. What we do in this moment is up to us. 

We are rising up and speaking out like never before about police brutality and the many other forms of injustice in our country today. African-Americans, in particular, have spent generations engaged in efforts to achieve social justice. And now, my allied friends are asking questions too. I’m encouraged by what we may achieve by harnessing the power of our togetherness. 

This gives me hope.

We have been empathy-poor as a nation. There has been a deficit of caring for one another. But Tacoma’s empathy meter continues to rise. I have witnessed it in our response to COVID-19. I witness it now, just as I did at demonstrations throughout the past weekend. I have witnessed those who are deeply hurt and distraught by what is happening in our nation. I’ve witnessed those who are willing to rise up and help change this community. I’ve witnessed those who are tired of seeing African-American men and women die. As I’ve heard many in our community say, ‘It is now time to do something different, something lasting that gets at the root cause of injustice in our nation.’

To untangle the chains of 400 years of systemic racism is heavy work. 

And while this work will not happen quickly or easily, all work is lighter when lifted by many hands. That’s why I am asking you to join me. None of us alive today ‘created’ racism, but I say to you today that it is up to all of us to undo it.  

Everyone’s humanity is on the line when one of us is brutalized. This is a matter of conscience, and I am calling for the best of us and the best in us to rise up and respond. We need more allies. We need more peaceful demonstration and expression of what we believe to be just. We need to join together in saying that enough is enough and then take action to back those words.

Tacoma is a city whose strength has been forged over the years with the heart of its community members. I have heard that heart as this city comforts those feeling deep grief and enters into dialogue on how we do better. I have felt that heart in every action taken, first in response to COVID-19 and now, in response to the tragic and unacceptable death of George Floyd. We are stronger together because we are a community with heart. We are Compassionate Tacoma, and together we can make powerful change.”

 

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NOTE: This statement was adapted from  

this video message released yesterday.