The death of George Floyd has prompted outrage around the world and now Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama are speaking out.
Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis earlier this week after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. A viral video of the incident sparked outcry, protests, riots leading up to the Friday arrest of the officer.
Winfrey shared an emotional statement about Floyd on Twitter on Friday.
“I’ve been trying to process what can be said or heard in this moment,” she wrote. “I haven’t been able to get the image of the knee on his neck out of my head. It’s there every morning when I rise and when I got through the ordinary duties of the day. While pouring coffee, lacing my shoes, and taking a breath, I think: He doesn’t get to do this.”
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) May 29, 2020
“And now the video from the other angle of the two officers pinning him down. My heart sinks even deeper,” Winfrey continued. “His family and friends say he was a gentle giant. His death has now shown us he had a giant soul. If the largeness of a soul is determined by its sphere of influence, George Floyd is a Mighty Soul.”
She added, “#GeorgeFloyd: We speak your name. But this time we will not let your name be just a hashtag. Your spirit is lifted by the cries of all us who call for justice in your name.”
Obama shared his own statement, which read, “It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ – whether it’s while dealing with the healthcare system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”
My statement on the death of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/Hg1k9JHT6R
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better,” he continued.
The former U.S. president added, “It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station – including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day – to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”
On Friday, former First Lady Michelle Obama also took to Twitter to share her feelings about the seemingly endless cycle of unarmed black men killed by white law-enforcement officers.
“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies,” she wrote. “And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on.”
Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies. And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on. pic.twitter.com/lFWEtTzVT8
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) May 29, 2020