Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House is being conducted virtually this year, so a few weeks ago I recorded my address from the media center at LSU Health-Shreveport. As you’ll see when we post the address widely tomorrow night, my address touches on the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, about its effect on our profession, and about our need to act.
What it doesn’t touch on, given when I recorded it, is what’s top of mind for so many of us right now — the death of George Floyd and the unrest that has followed as Americans have responded to what’s only the latest act of unnecessary violence and intimidation against a person of color in this country.
George Floyd’s death was horrific and entirely preventable. Because it was captured on video it has forced us, yet again, to confront the deeply seated racism in this country that many of us — mainly those like me with the privilege of whiteness — have spent too long complacently believing was largely a relic of our past. Yesterday as Americans celebrated the launch of humans into space while protests filled our streets, I couldn’t help but wonder what decade we’re in. For all the progress we’ve made as a society, we have an inexcusably long way to go, and we must make progress faster.