Leavenworth, Washington, Mayor Carl Florea has been providing his constituents with coronavirus updates on a daily basis on the city's official webpage. But his update last Thursday was a bit different. Hidden in the page dedicated to COVID-19 updates, was a message for all white people in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of African American man George Floyd.
"As is my practice, I am going to share my thoughts with you on our current pandemic," Florea writes. "But the pandemic I am going to address is not COVID-19. You are going to get a bit of a respite on that one. I am talking about a pandemic that has been with us a lot longer, inflicting untold damage on individuals and entire communities. It brings death and destruction in its path. And there is not now, nor will there ever be, a vaccine. I am talking about the ingrained and institutionalized racism that continues to plague our great nation."
The analogy continues, as it's clear Mayor Florea doesn't think too highly of his race.
In truth, this is a disease in which all of us who are white are carriers. We all spread it, most often unwittingly, (I would hope), but at times very blatantly. I can’t imagine what it would be like every time you walk or jog in public to be accompanied by fear. Every time you are pulled over by a policeman to wonder if this might be the end. Every time you are in a store to have extra eyes following your every move. It is so far from my experience, that I have a hard time comprehending that anyone would have to live this way. But those who are people of color, do.
"Long after we get a vaccine for that virus we will be dealing with the insidious and pervasive effects of our racism," the mayor concludes.
Riots, which first consumed Minneapolis, have now broken out in major cities all over the country, particularly in Atlanta, Buffalo, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Businesses are being ambushed, vehicles are being lit on fire, and, most disturbingly, police officers are being run over and rioters and protesters are being injured or killed.
Do you think Mayor Florea's message will work to fan or extinguish the flames?