YWCA Statement on the Murder of George Floyd

We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, and to the larger Minneapolis and St. Paul community. YWCA continues to be outraged by the violence and deaths of people of color in America due to police brutality.

As facts are still coming to light, and federal, state, and local authorities review the case, we believe that the seriousness of the incident requires additional independent oversight by law enforcement at all levels. We request that federal, state, and local authorities conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the events that led to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, and that we bring those accountable to justice.

YWCA Minneapolis’ Midtown location, located in the heart of the area where George Floyd was murdered and the scene of current protests, alongside YWCA St. Paul have served the Twin Cities community for over 100 years. We stand together with the people that we serve and our community stakeholders to eliminate racism and empower women. This work and our mission is at the core of what we do, and today we lift our collective voices to demand justice.

“George Floyd was one of ours. He took advantage of a training program offered by YWCA St. Paul and, like many of those we partner with, he was taking steps to build a brighter future. The anger, anguish, and grief we are feeling in this community is real. And yet, we must channel those emotions into positive action that demands justice, drives change, and most importantly honors his memory,” said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul.

“We condemn the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department officers. We have seen this tragedy before. Unfortunately, George Floyd is just one of countless other black lives lost to police violence, including that of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile, said Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ, CEO/President, YWCA Minneapolis. “We must work toward racial justice. And we must work in partnership with others to hold our elected officials and law enforcement accountable.”

Together with YWCA Minneapolis and YWCA St. Paul, over 200 YWCAs across the country unite to answer the cry for justice, peace, and dignity for all. YWCA continues to call for dismantling systemic racism and equal protection and opportunity under the law through its public policy and advocacy work.

Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA states, “We are outraged by the callous killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department officer – and similarly appalled by the inaction of three other officers who stood by watching as George Floyd endured unspeakable suffering,” Ms. Castillo continued “ But addressing this specific incident alone won’t be enough to prevent future incidents of police violence against Black people, and people of color in America. Our country’s failure to address institutional racism is costing lives. Racism is why coronavirus is killing more people of color than white people. Racism is why police shootings are a leading cause of death for young Black men. Racism is why Black mothers die more frequently in childbirth. Racism has no place in the America we all deserve.”

At YWCA, we demand a world of equity and human decency. We envision a world of opportunity. We commit ourselves to the work of racial justice. We will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.