African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) Statement on how the Murder of George Floyd Denotes America Unsafe for Refugees and Asylum Seekers from African Countries at this time:
African Human Rights Coalition expressed its condolences and outrage on social media the moment we saw the video evidencing the cold blooded murder of George Floyd, a black man under the knee of a white police officer and those complicit. While we commended the immediate firing of the now ex-officer, we could not fathom that he was not arrested immediately as a dangerous suspect to a violent killing. It took too many days before he was arrested and charged. And his accomplices remain unjustly free.
In our work with LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers from African countries, many of whom strive to resettle to safer countries after experiencing unfathomable anti-LGBTQI persecution and violence, we are concerned that the United States of America has now become an exacerbated unsafe environment for refugees and asylum seekers of color.
LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers bear every element of historic discrimination and persecution - homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, economic inequality, racism and religious intolerance. All that which Trump has used to exacerbate the divide in America, since his 2016 election campaign and through his administration, making America an unwelcoming and unsafe refuge destination for LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees from Africa, as well as any refugee or asylum seeker of color. The United States President Donald J. Trump has targeted America with his anti-LGBTQI roll-back on progressive Obama era laws, as well as cutting back the refugee numbers, Muslim and African travel bans, and his direct attacks on immigrants and most profoundly asylum seekers. Since George Floyd was murdered, almost a week ago, with the reminder of the racial profiling and unjust killings of so many black people before him in America, America has erupted into chaos, and we are watching America headed, like a Titanic, toward a looming glacier, not without any captain, but with one who is so inept, so mentally depraved and so determined to destroy, that he is steering the ship right into it!
We call on the government of the United States and all in political office to visit your role in what you are doing or not doing and to be an agent of real change that reflects full equality and justice for all- and to act swiftly. We call on police forces and all law enforcement in every jurisdiction to stand down from your failed tactics and to refurbish every element of your broken systems- we call for re-investigations of all officers involved in complaints, firings, new protocols and policies, a rebranding that changes everything down to those very uniforms that now serve only to express violence against the people, mayhem and hate. We call on the Minneapolis Police to arrest the complicit 3 ex-officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped Derek Chauvin kill George Floyd.
We call on the people of the United States to keep protesting and in peace, not to be deterred, and to insist your voices be heard to the point of remedial action. We call on white people of the United States to speak out and reach out and embrace friendships you may otherwise have feared, for it is assumptions and fear that underpin and nurture hate and hence fuel racism. It is up to each individual to change this. Not only with your vote, but with your day to day actions and how you lead your lives. It is not courageous to love your neighbor – it is normal. It is courageous to stand up to the persons and institutions who may work to divide you for their own gain, by separating you from your neighbor, through fostering draconian and hateful tropes that you cannot allow to persist.
America must be restored to its promise of progress – the one we got a glimpse of during the Obama era. America must then repair this deeply entrenched racism, it must pay for slavery through a form of reparation, it must feed all its people equally with food and with justice. For now we at African Human Rights Coalition, with broken heart, must confess and declare that America, once a beacon of hope for African and LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers, is not a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers from African countries and this must change immediately. We must still rely on our equality based laws to advocate for Asylum seekers. With that said, we refuse to be defeated by hate and we will not stop in our advocacy, fight and work to make it a welcoming place. We again send our love and condolences to George Floyd’s family, friends and community and we join in protesting his murder and the racism that fueled it, and in celebrating who he was, a loved and loving human being.
Melanie Nathan Marc Cohen The AHRC Team