Reflections on a Difficult Week

These days have been agonizing.

Earlier this week, two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by law enforcement. Again, these deaths were caught on camera for the world to see and re-live, over and over. The videos from Baton Rouge and Minneapolis are horrific — a clear reminder that pervasive, systemic racism is ravaging the soul of our nation. The broken trust and repeated lack of judicial accountability is leaving many of us in despair. The lives of these men were cut far too short, and there must be accountability. We need to change the interactions between police and communities they serve. The killings this week join a list that has been growing for decades — and they demonstrate once again the importance and urgency of reform. I will not tolerate any practice, policy, or system that repeatedly results in the death of people of color.

Last night at a peaceful protest in Dallas, a heinously violent assassination took the lives of five brave police officers and wounded several others. It was an attack on who we are as a people, on society, and on democracy. When the shooting started, officers of the Dallas Police Department ran towards the gunfire to protect civilians and protesters who were in danger. This is the definition of heroism. Violence against police officers cannot and will not be tolerated and our City stands united with the people of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department. This is a pain that New York City understands far too well, as we have too often grieved the senseless murders of our own first responders.

It is not a contradiction to support and honor our brave men and women in uniform while also seeking to address the underlying racial tensions and inequities that exist to this day in our nation. Whether it’s tackling gun safety, criminal justice reform, or police reform, we must take meaningful steps to improve public safety and the way that communities and police interact.

How we go about reform is just as important in some ways as actual reforms.

We need to be bold, but we must also be thoughtful and deliberate. This is about accountability and respect. It is about understanding our differences and working together to bridge gaps and build trust. Partnership leads to better outcomes. It’s easy to label someone a “sellout” or “anti-cop” — it is more difficult to bridge our differences and actually move ourselves forward.

That is the path I believe in.

We are better than this and it is up to us to prove that now. We can build a more just city and nation but we must work together if we intend to make humanity and justice the standard.

This cannot continue.