Special to Iredell Free News

N.C. Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell, Yadkin), released this statement about the recent events following the killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer: 

Sen. Vickie Sawyer

“Over the last several days I have watched with all of you as our country has been ripped apart by the tragic murder of George Floyd. I have tried numerous times to try and find words that can somehow reflect what I and so many Americans have been feeling as we watch events unfold across our nation. And each time I try, I find that the words I do come up with are inadequate in reflecting what my heart feels. Be that as it may, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that not having the right words cannot be an excuse for staying silent. Citizens of North Carolina, and across our nation, have seen the horror of George Floyd’s murder. An act so senseless that it has left us all asking why and how this could happen?

“The reality is that this, and instances like it, are what our African American friends and neighbors live in fear of every day across our state and country. It’s a fear those of us who aren’t African American don’t understand and can be quick to dismiss. We have seen and heard this fear on the signs and from the loud speakers of those who took to the streets in exercise of their First Amendment right to protest. They’ve been crying out asking us to listen and recognize this fear isn’t manufactured or imagined. It is genuine and deeply felt.

“Sadly, those calling out to be heard have now been drowned out by those who have decided to use this time of national tragedy as an opportunity to break, pillage and burn businesses, many of them minority owned, in an effort to stoke the fires of division and hate. They do not do this out of anger about George Floyd or in an effort to seek justice. They do it because they want us divided and angry. Because if we are together and united in purpose, they can’t be successful in creating the anarchy they so desperately want.

“We can’t let them win. There are more of us than there are of them. There are more people of good conscience and kind heart who want true justice and healing to come from this tragedy than there are who want more hate and division. There are more good police officers who have sworn an oath to serve and protect our communities than there are like the one who criminally took George Floyd from his family. I have had the honor of meeting and talking with so many of them throughout Iredell and Yadkin counties, and I know they want more than anything to do what’s right and serve all our citizens with trust and honor.

“We need to use this tragedy as an opportunity to listen and make meaningful change in our state and in our country. But that can’t happen until we restore order and civility in our cities that have been seized by rioters and those intent on doing harm. Governor Cooper must do more to quell this violence and, if he doesn’t have what he needs to achieve it, then he must tell the General Assembly what he does need so we can provide it. Our state is relying on us to work together through this. That’s the only way we’ll succeed.”

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