SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David P. White have spoken out against the death of George Floyd and racism in the U.S. after days of protests around the country.
“The murder of George Floyd is deeply emblematic of a corrosive inequality and injustice at the heart of America,” Carteris and White said Sunday. “As protests spread across the country it is not enough to condemn injustice. It’s not enough to demand change. We must recognize that racism lives in our culture and only we can change that. We must speak up in the face of injustice and fight back against the indignities our fellow citizens face every day. We must be defenders and allies. We must be better than this.”
WGA West President David Goodman also issued a statement Sunday, in which he asserted that Los Angeles Police Dept. officers had fired rubber bullets during Saturday’s demonstrations near the WGA West headquarters on Third Street at Fairfax Avenue:
“Yesterday, police fired rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators near the location of WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles while the U.S. President tweeted anger and outrage at his political opponents and the free press. As demonstrations continue today across America, our union stands with those who peacefully protest the racist, extrajudicial murders of George Floyd and other Black people. We must see an end to institutional white supremacy and the militarization of our police departments. Staying silent during this crisis is not an option. National outrage about bigotry, discrimination, and injustice is the only way we will ever see real change.”
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen on video using his knee to pin down Floyd, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin was captured on video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as the handcuffed 46-year-old Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd later died on May 25.
Floyd’s death set off days of protests in Minneapolis and across the country as demonstrators also spoke out against other recent killings of black men and women.
“The ugly truth is that Mr. Floyd’s killing was one among many murders of black people over many years,” Carteris and White said. “Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Jr., Marsha P. Johnson, Emmett Till, and the list goes painfully on and on stretching back for centuries. It must end. Black lives do matter. Our union will continue its efforts to dismantle racism and work to build a more just and equitable society for all.”
SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 performers. On Saturday, it condemned an attack by a police officer on two of its member journalists who were covering a protest in Louisville, Ky.