KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus held a press conference Thursday afternoon at Dr. Martin Luther King Park to do two things: affirm 'Black Lives Matter' and to demand change from local leaders.
“The structural and systemic oppression of Black people, coupled with policy and lack of accountability in America’s major institutions, has allowed the exacerbation of racism to impact our Black citizens in such a way that they literally and figuratively cannot breathe,” chairwoman Stephanie Moore said to the crowd.
The group held the presser in response to George Floyd’s death on May 25 in which he uttered ‘I can’t breathe’ as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. He later died that night. Since then peaceful protests broke out in all 50 states. Some protests turned into riots.
“Racism is a public health crisis that threatens the safety and welfare of citizens in our county and throughout this nation,” said Moore who is also a Kalamazoo County Commissioner. “It must be addressed within the context of system and policy reform as well as overall accountability.”
Moore, who stood on a stage with the caucus behind her, called on local leaders to get involved and help them implement changes that benefit Black communities.
“We demand that our local institutional leaders stop pandering to our communities during election years and start implementing policies that guarantee our Black citizens can live in this county without the fear of brutality, discrimination, or premature death,” Moore said.