State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris) released the following statement in response to the protests across our country and the need for change:
“What happened to George Floyd was unconscionable. The death of an unarmed black man by police is becoming too common of a sight and Americans are rightfully upset and have the right to protest and peacefully assemble to voice their pain and demand change.
“In the last several days, we have watched hundreds of thousands of people protesting for positive change to only have their peaceful protests repeatedly hijacked by professional agitators with their own agenda. These agitators are determined to infiltrate peaceful protests and turn them violent – regardless of the cause.
“These criminal elements of outside agitators are a persistent enemy to the movement for positive change. They are a powerful enemy to social justice and healing – everything that 99 percent of protesters advocate for so strongly.
“The protest hijackers don’t want peace. They thrive on violence and glom onto every opportunity to hijack peaceful movements to bolster their misguided agenda while endangering the lives of our law enforcement and the livelihoods of our communities.
“Many people are currently hurting in our country, but harming others and damaging property will only lead to more pain. In our state, small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat due to the coronavirus pandemic and may never recover. Very few can afford to rebuild at this time.
“Violence is always the wrong way to accomplish change. Turning peaceful protests into rampages of crime is a crime not just against property but is a crime against the cause of social justice.
“Community and government leaders must listen heavily and then take long-overdue action to deal with systemic and reoccurring racial problems that DO exist in our country.
“The history of our nation consists of pivotal moments in time that will shape who we are for generations… THIS IS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS. Our kids are watching and learning.
“This is the time to change, but to truly accomplish meaningful change, we must be willing to openly and honestly engage with each other. ‘No one learns only by staring in the mirror. We all learn, and are sometimes transformed, by encountering differences that challenge our own experience and assumptions.’ These words by university professor Marty Linsky exemplifies the need for our community and leaders to come together to find a better solution.”