Global Cooperation

How leaders are reacting to the US George Floyd protests

Opal Tometi, the co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, takes part in an onstage interview at the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - GF10000227967

Opal Tometi, the co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, is one of the leaders driving for change and speaking out after the death of George Floyd. Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Harry Kretchmer
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Systemic Racism

  • Leaders from politics, black communities, faith and business have been speaking out following protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
  • African-American Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May.
  • Across the world thousands have protested his death, asking for social change.

Leaders from business, government and more are speaking out following the death of George Floyd in police custody 25 May.

In recent days there have been many powerful contributions in print, on social media and at demonstrations about how the world should come together to address racial inequality.

Here are some of the most thought-provoking quotes.

"Let's not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves."

Barack Obama, former US President

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"We need the harm to stop in our communities. We need the damage to be repaired. We need to be able to have the opportunity to have a life of dignity, and the possibility to thrive."

Opal Tometi, Co-founder, Black Lives Matter movement

“The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard. The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard.”

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form. At the same time, we have to recognize that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us pray for reconciliation and peace.”

Pope Francis

“What I need y’all to do right now at 16 is come up with a better way. ’Cause how we’re doing it, it ain’t working. He angry at 46, I’m angry at 31. You angry at 16. Y’all come up with a better way, ’cause we ain’t doing it.”

Curtis Hayes, North Carolina man whose passionate speech to protesters went viral.

"It is a time to pull people together ... it is a time to listen. It is a time to learn, when injustices continue despite progress over years and decades."

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Canada

"To overcome the challenges that we all face, we must use our voices and demand that ignorance and racism must come to an end."

"The haunting video of Mr. Floyd's last breaths is a sobering reflection of this national crisis. ...This is a time when we must embrace our differences and become more inclusive. No group should ever be targeted for racism, harassment or other form of discrimination."

Roger Ferguson, CEO, TIAA

We can launch men into space but cannot treat one another with love and respect.

Ralph Clark, CEO, ShotSpotter

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