(Newark, NJ) – On June 10, 2020, Essex County Freeholder At-Large Rufus I. Johnson and the Essex County Freeholder Board unanimously passed a resolution condemning all acts of hate and bigotry and calling for social justice. The resolution, introduced by Freeholder Johnson and co-sponsored by Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson and Freeholder President Brendan Gill, recognized the horrific murder of George Floyd as a tragic occurrence that will be forever ingrained in the minds and hearts of all who witnessed it. It also expressed the need for the Essex County community to come together and embrace the challenge of becoming a closer community through the adoption of anti-racist principles and values.

In passing the resolution, the Board extended their condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd and to the members of communities throughout the country who have been affected by the unrest of recent weeks. The Board condemned the actions of the police officers involved, and recognized the inhumane violence displayed during Mr. Floyd’s murder was not an isolated incident. Contrarily, it was the latest instance of unchecked police brutality in which people of color were left to wonder if their lives do indeed matter. Through the resolution, the Board proclaimed, in fact, that Black Lives Matter.

The resolution also pointed out the very real social, legal, economical, medical and educational inequities suffered by black and brown communities. The minority communities of Essex County, New Jersey, and the entire nation have suffered throughout our history, but ultimately it is the legacy of America that suffers when it fails to live up to its ideals of equality and compassion for all of its citizens. Freeholder Johnson also issued a challenge to all public officials to reflect on their own practices and beliefs, and ensure that all members of the communities they have been called to serve feel protected, listened to, and served by their public servants.

Freeholder Johnson stated, “As a black man, my heart hurts. Just like George Floyd was a father, a brother, a friend...I am a father, a brother, and a friend. It was a moment of reckoning for the masses and a realization that this type of abuse can no longer be tolerated anywhere.”  He continued, “We are committed to social justice, and will focus on how we can deliver on the promise of good, fair public safety to all.”