PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia City Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) today issued the following statement on the ongoing protests in Philadelphia against police brutality, following the death of George Floyd:
George Floyd’s death shined a spotlight on the severity of police brutality and racism that has plagued people of color for centuries in this country. The many ensuing protests showed solidarity and a passionate consensus that changes need to occur. Black Lives Matter. I see you, I hear you and now it is time to focus on the long overdue work of creating lasting systemic reform.
Some of these changes can take effect immediately, such as banning the use of lethal tactics to detain unarmed suspects and creating accountability to build trust between Police and the community. Other efforts, like investing in housing and educational resources to meet the basic needs of all may not have an obvious impact in the short-term, but ultimately will be productive in the long run. I am open to amending Mayor Kenney’s revised budget, to better focus on the well-being of our residents.
I believe in the freedom of speech, the right to assemble and the power of protesting to advance social movements. However, I do not condone violence in any form and rioting distracts the conversation from the serious issues we face.
“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.” – MLK
I pledge to work peacefully with all, utilizing our collective passion to promote anti-racist behavior and effectuate positive change in the City of Philadelphia.