The McCain Institute for International Leadership stands for freedom and human rights. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was a needless and unjustified tragedy. As an organization that promotes civility, human rights and the rule of law around the world, we cannot turn a blind eye to injustice and inequality in the United States and condemn the death of Mr. Floyd.
A hallmark of democracy, a vibrant democracy, the kind that so many have fought and died for, is the willingness to shine on a light on the unjust and the ugly. We need to pursue a true citizen-centered, inclusive future for all Americans. The right to civil protest is a central aspect of a functioning democracy as it is serves as an indicator of public unrest. In situations like today, we must respect the rights of all non-violent protesters and listen.
Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the McCain Institute is within walking distance of many national icons which pay homage to the history of this great nation, including the White House, the monuments, the Smithsonian museums. It was here that Dr. Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Here at the Institute, we still believe in his words and strive to uphold the civic and constitutional rights of freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.
We acknowledge the continued injustices and economic disparities the African American community and agree that more collaborative work is needed to break down the barriers which divide this country. It is essential that we band together as one to truly improve our great nation.
The Institute will continue to point out injustices in the world – in China, in Iran, in Russia – where there is little to no freedom or accountability. We cannot ignore injustices, including in our own backyard, but we will not be deterred. As a nation, we must come together, think together, and work together to improve the free and equitable society that America promises to all people. As Senator John McCain said in his concession speech in 2008, “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.”