We always begin our legislative meetings with a moment of silence, and almost always I state that this is a time for reflection. Today we have plenty to reflect on. The nation, our city, and this Council are going through a moment where we are confronting the vestiges of slavery: that is, the quiet and pernicious continuity of racism in our society. We are also confronting the reality of experience: that whites  think  they understand the African-American experience.
           For African-Americans – and I hesitate to say this because I cannot speak for African-Americans – what is happening today, and for the past 15 days, is not new. We can say the names – like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor -- but even that is not new. We can cite events – like George Floyd, or Rodney King, or Selma, or Tulsa – and maybe, as we do so, white Americans can see that for black Americans, this is not new.
           Today we have an important bill before us to address police conduct. Surely we need action. And there is more we can do. But I ask that each of us reflect what also needs to change, but which we cannot legislatively change: our understanding of each other. And our attitudes. 
           Somehow we have to change deeply rooted attitudes – often unconscious attitudes – within ourselves that allow racism to persist in our society. How do we end this? I ask that each of us reflect on this during a moment of silence.