June 01, 2020

Congressman Joe Neguse Calls for Calm and Unity Amidst Protests Across the Nation

Colorado’s First and Only African-American Congressman Calls for Calm, Peace and a Focus on Systemic Legislative Reforms as Protests Continue Across the Country   

Washington D.C.—Congressman Joe Neguse, the first African American elected to represent Colorado in Congress and, at 36 years-old, the youngest African-American man serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, issued the following statement in the midst of protests in Denver and throughout the nation in the days after George Floyd’s murder: 

“I’ve struggled to find the right words to respond to the events that have unfolded since the murder of George Floyd. As a young African American man, I understand viscerally the fear and anguish so many are experiencing, and the need for systemic and transformational reforms in our criminal justice system. In the coming days, me and my colleagues on both the House Judiciary Committee and in the Congressional Black Caucus, will work to enact such reforms. We can, and must, meet this moment,”

“However, it pains me to see peaceful calls for justice and change that we have seen across our nation overtaken by violence and destruction from nefarious actors. The subversion of peaceful protests and social media platforms by extremist organizations, on both the far-right and far-left, is very real, and very dangerous. Their goal is simple — to inflame racial tensions and to further divide us as Americans. We cannot let them succeed, and we cannot allow destruction and violence to overcome peaceful calls for justice and equality for all.”  

“We must find a way to heal the deep divisions in our country before they tear us apart, and to restore calm, peace, and unity across our nation. To treat each other with decency, generosity, respect, and love. For as Dr. King so eloquently stated over 50 years ago, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I’ve decided to stick with love, and I hope you will too.”

In response to the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Congressman Neguse joined House Judiciary Committee Democrats in a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week demanding prompt action, including the opening of pattern and practice investigations of police misconduct. The House Judiciary Committee will also be pursuing additional oversight and legislative action this month to address the series of racially motivated violence and unjust policing practices that have resulted in the deaths of African Americans across the country.