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Michigan Department of Civil Rights Releases Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and Violence in Michigan Communities

May 31, 2020

LANSING, MI—Interim Director Mary Engelman of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights today released the following statement on the killing of George Floyd and the outbreak of violence in Michigan communities.

“The death of George Floyd did not happen in Michigan, but there have been incidents like it here, and we cannot wait for it to happen again to speak. We can no longer accept token measures and lip service in response to the real risk too many people face every time they leave their homes.”

“We call on leaders at all levels to come together in a substantive way to address the systemic racism and bias, both explicit and implicit, that leads to tragedies like the ones we’ve witnessed in Minnesota, in Georgia and in Kansas in the last few weeks alone. Our shared sin is not just that racial police abuses happen, but that they continue to happen. We must do everything in our power to say, ‘This ends now.’”

“Peaceful protest can be an important tool for sparking change. Civil disobedience makes a powerful statement in support, but violent civil unrest only makes matters worse for those who must live with the problem every day. We will never right these wrongs by hurting innocents and burning our cities. The question everyone should be asking is “What can I do to help make things better?” The answer may involve protest, but must also include other concrete, positive actions.”

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to

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