Mayor Busse's statement on the killing of George Floyd from the June 1 City Council Meeting

Video starts at the beginning of Mayor Busse's remarks

Transcript of Mayor Busse's remarks

I want to start tonight by acknowledging that it’s difficult for me to focus on this meeting. Given the events of the past seven days and the emotion, and uncertainty, and the stress, I’m going to admit up front that my focus has been distracted by more pressing issues. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear similar thoughts from my council colleagues, by the city staff, and by many members of the community watching tonight.

The last week has been the most emotional week I can remember. When I say it was an emotional week, I say it in the context that just about every human emotion possible has been on display over the past seven days in one way or another. Anger. Sadness. Fear. Frustration. Helplessness. Rage. Sometimes all at once.  

To watch a man’s life end through the lens of an on-lookers cell phone. To hear him plead for his life and call out to his deceased mother. To see the callous disregard in the eyes of the police officers who were detaining and arresting him. These are haunting images that we should never, ever, forget. As a Bloomington community, we need to ensure that George Floyd is remembered, and we to acknowledge and find a way to address the enormous racial and ethnic inequalities that continue to loom large in American society.

Over the last several years, I do believe we’ve made progress on the City Council’s strategic priority of advancing equity and inclusion. But without question, there’s so much more work to be done. As I wrote last week, we ourselves have struggled at times to break away from the systems and structures that have perpetuated these injustices, but I am committed to learning from these mistakes.

Of course, the how is the tricky part – especially in the middle of a global pandemic. Fortunately, we have strong resources in place that can help us. The efforts of our Community Outreach and Engagement Division, and the Bloomington Police Department’s Community Liaison and Multicultural Advisory Team give us the structure to continue to build relationships and break down barriers. And Faith Jackson, the City’s Racial Equity Coordinator, is an outstanding resource for all of us in this area. If you haven’t had a chance yet to meet Faith, I hope you get that chance very soon. Faith is exceptional.

But it’s an effort that goes far beyond City Hall and will require a commitment from all of Bloomington. We need to align the efforts of residents, the City, our schools, our houses of faith, our non-profit and business community in a way that allows us to listen, to learn, and to move forward.

The nice part is that we’ve already seen Bloomington residents step forward and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m proud of the community members who last Friday evening powerfully and peacefully voiced their pain, frustration, and call to action in response to George Floyd’s unjustifiable death. I’m proud to see the donations of food, supplies, and money for relief efforts in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Thanks to all who donated, and thanks to the organizers. These are good first steps. Let’s find ways to make them continue.

And I think it’s important to call out and thank our public safety professionals in Bloomington. Our Police Officers and Firefighters put in a lot of hours this week and as usual, they did so with the professionalism and integrity that we’ve all come to expect. It shouldn’t be overlooked that professionalism, integrity and respect are foundational parts of the culture of those organizations. Thank you all for your work.

Finally, last year, the New York Times Magazine released a powerful issue titled “The 1619 Project” that delves deep into America’s origin as a nation built on slavery and explores the continuing impact on the nation today. That impact is great, and there is no one, single thing that can be done to resolve 400 years of racial inequality. What we can do is continue and intensify our work to create and support an inclusive culture that values and advances racial equity throughout the City of Bloomington. I hope we can count on each and every resident of this city to join us in this effort.