“In so many of our communities and countries, racism is endemic. It’s built in, like a rot in a frame. And it remains, and it festers, and it spreads because many of those in charge allow it to. Others look away and pretend it’s not there. But like a cancer, if ignored, it grows,” Thomas-Greenfield mentioned throughout a UN assembly commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Thomas-Greenfield talked about America’s historical past of slavery and legacy of White supremacy, acknowledging that “we have flaws. Deep, serious flaws.”
“But we talk about them. We work to address them. And we press on, in hopes that we can leave the country better than we found it,” she mentioned. “We can do the same on a multilateral scale.”
She recalled how the “senseless” killings of Black Americans, together with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, final yr had “sparked a reckoning with racial justice, a movement that spread across the world: Black Lives Matter. “
“And because Black lives matter, we need to dismantle White supremacy at every turn,” Thomas-Greenfield mentioned.
Thomas-Greenfield mentioned that the US mission to the UN would decrease its flag at half-staff “to honor the victims of this terrible, senseless tragedy.”
She mentioned that “ending racial discrimination, particularly” within the US prison justice system, is an “ongoing top priority” for the Biden administration.
“It is so important we stand together — we stand unified — against this scourge. In unity, we have strength,” she mentioned. “But divisions and misperceptions about each other work against all of us.”
Thomas-Greenfield, who’s African American, mentioned that Friday’s assembly was “personal to me,” sharing that she is a descendant of slaves and grew up within the segregated South.
“I know the ugly face of racism. I lived racism. I have experienced racism. And I survived racism,” she mentioned.
“Those of us who experience racism cannot, and should not, internalize it, despite the impact that it can have on our everyday lives. We must face it down, every time, no matter whom it’s directed towards.”