BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh asked people to honor George Floyd and reflect on his murder Saturday. Walsh, along with Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and religious leaders in the city held a prayer vigil.
“Now is a time for all of us to stand together by praying for peace, by listening and learning and working for justice. Too often we all hear the news that another black man or another black woman has been killed. Our response is consistent. ‘I can’t believe this. How could this happen.’ But we all know how it happens. It’s a part of the history of hatred and violence that’s rooted in our country’s past and continues today through systemic racism,” said Walsh.
“This is reality, study the history,” he continued. “For black Americans and black parents and black children, it’s a traumatic reality that has played out far too many times. And it never stops hurting.”
Speaking directly to the black community, Walsh said: “I want you to know that I stand with you and I love you. Even though I don’t walk in your shoes, my heart aches for you.”
He said people need to put aside differences to take steps forward and that now is the time to commit to justice and change as a nation.
“We should recognize why people are speaking out. Right now in cities across America and here in Boston, our fellow black Americans are making their voices heard. Black neighbors and co-workers are exercising their right to demonstrate and to demand and ask for change. We need to be listening. I can’t be standing here six months from now, and give this same speech, and give the same words.”
The coronavirus pandemic, which has changed life everywhere, it brought certain inequities to light in Boston. According to Walsh, minority communities were at first hit harder by the virus, but those numbers have slowly gone down once proper action was taken.
“If this pandemic has taught me anything or taught us anything, it should be that we should never forget: it’s that we depend on each other,” said Walsh.
The Boston Police Department is committed to becoming the “most professional, community-friendly police department in the entire United States of America,” said Walsh.
Gross made his thoughts on Floyd’s death clear. “This isn’t like past incidents, you’ve seen all of us come out and announce those actions of that officer. Excuse me, I won’t even call him an officer. The actions of that man, taking another’s life in front of us. We denounce it. We support the termination. And we believe that all of those efforts dissipated should be brought to justice because that’s what’s right,” he said.
“We’re taught right and wrong when we’re raised right and wrong. And then we have to see this again and again and again? That is not indicative of all law enforcement, but those that you that think it is, we have to prove that it isn’t that way.”
A number of religious leaders also took turns speaking.
“We are here because we have a moral obligation,” said Reverand Bishop Borders.