Jimmy Carter is the latest former president to speak out about the police killing of George Floyd,Â calling on people in power to provide more than lip service to improving what he termed â€œa racially discriminatory police and justice system.â€
In a statement posted at CarterCenter.org, Carter said he and his wife,Â Rosalynn, are â€œpained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks.â€
Carter, 95, added he and his wifeâ€™s hearts â€œare with the victimsâ€™ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty.â€
But while the Georgia native said shining a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination is a must, â€œviolence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.â€
Carter reflected how being a white male of the South made him â€œknow all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans.â€
â€œAs a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country. In my 1971 inaugural address as Georgiaâ€™s governor, I said: â€˜The time for racial discrimination is over.â€™
â€œWith great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later. Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.â€
Carter also noted that silence can be as deadly as violence, and that people have a duty to speak out against the current system of inequity.
â€œPeople of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say â€˜no moreâ€™ to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy,â€ he said.Â â€œWe are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.â€
Carter closed out his statement by saying change wonâ€™t truly occur until America lives up to its professed ideals.
â€œWe need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this,â€ he said.
Carter is the final former president to speak out about Floyd, 46, a Black man whoÂ died last weekÂ after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck forÂ nearly nine minutesÂ while Floyd was handcuffed on the ground.
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