Jun 2, 2020
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Speech Transcript While Protestors Outside His House
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave a June 2 speech as George Floyd protests continued in the city. Protesters went outside Garcetti’s private residence today.
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Eric Garcetti: (01:19)
… was marching, who want to share what it means to have faced racism in their lives, and their allies who say this isn’t just the work of black Americans, but of whites, and Asian, and native, and Latino Americans too. I wish we could hear those stories more. And so tonight, I want to do something a little bit different. I want to talk from my heart to, and about black Angelenos, and Americans, because at the end of the day, this moment is first and foremost about whether we make a decision collectively, not just to answer the snuffing out of a life, the lynching of a man in Minneapolis, and the collective death that we have seen pile on, and pile on, and pile on, until people wonder what black lives mean, what black bodies, whether they are valued. But to go deeper, to understand that this is a moment of opportunity, and of hope, and of change. I left the protests in the street after taking a knee, after praying, and after addressing the crowd.
Eric Garcetti: (02:32)
And I joined Reverend K.W. Tulloss who’s the president of the Baptist Ministers Conference. My old friends, Pastor William Smart, Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, and Pastor Michael Fisher Jr., who’s here with me tonight, and many others. And before anybody who’s friends with them say anything to them, they gave me a good, hard time. They were demanding about justice as everyone in America should be right now. And like so many others who were peacefully protesting, we need to hear those voices. And I want to lift one of those up tonight. And I would just ask, cutaway when I come back, if you need to. But I would ask our television stations to give the voice on the evening news to a young black male Angeleno, because at the end of the day, this story is about the pain that people carry the day that they are born from the traumas visited on their ancestors.
Eric Garcetti: (03:31)
And from the first moment, they’re taller than a cute little boy, the way they’re looked at in our society. And I’m going to ask a young man of faith and of inspiration who I met today, Davion Pilgrim, a 16-year-old student from Morningside High School, who told me his story. And I want you to hear his story, to talk about what this moment and this movement means. So Davion, thank you so much for being with us. This microphone and this city is yours.
Davion Pilgrim: (04:18)
Hi, my name is Davion Pilgrim, and I am 16 years old. First, I want to say thank you to Mayor Garcetti for giving me this opportunity to speak today, because I have a story to share. I was recently stopped by the police officers and racially and criminally profiled. I was accused of being associated with a gang, that really hurt, because that’s not me. I am a God-fearing young black man. I am an athlete. I’m a president of the youth department at Greater Zion Church in Compton, under the leadership of Dr. Michael J.T. Fisher. I love God. That’s why I believe in the change and I have hope. The opportunities with the people of faith, and have a conversation with the mayor today was hopeful. We want to make sure that what happened to George Floyd does not ever happen again to someone that just looks like me. Losing our lives to the police officers is one of the biggest fears that we have in South LA.
Davion Pilgrim: (05:20)
I have seven brothers and sisters, and I for surely don’t want none of that to happen to them. This is a hard moment, but the good news is that there is still time for unity. And while I think we should keep protesting and demanding change, there is no need to loot, and tear things down. It is time for us to rebuild. Conversations is what we need. We need to talk to each other. We need to understand each other. The police needs to understand where we are coming from. It is my prayer, my deep prayer that we come together in unity, and we take a stand together in a time like this. We need to hold our officers accountable, and we must stay strong for change, and for peace. Thank you. Amen.
Eric Garcetti: (06:10)
Thank you, Davion. Thank you for the courage of this moment, and for the courage of your generation. Justice is never given, it is earned. It is earned by the chapters we see written on the streets of our country. Sometimes with people’s bodies, and always with the courage that they have to move us forward. So here’s the uncomfortable part tonight. It falls on leaders not to just say the right things, but to do the right things. After I left that meeting across the street with the leaders from Baptist community, and the faith community, I came back and I listened to folks on my own team. I listened to a powerful young black man who said that it’s tough to even work in government right now. Another member of my team, who said every single time, even though he works for the mayor, and carries a mayor’s badge, when somebody rolls up behind him from law enforcement, it makes him shudder. And he’s worried about whether reaching for that badge to reassure them might scare them more than just sitting there until he can explain who he is.
Eric Garcetti: (07:29)
I heard from April, who is doing the most amazing work housing Angelenos who are unhoused, and who’s dealing with the pain of this moment by taking things to folks who are living in our shelters that we’ve set up. So she brought shoes to them, and all she could think about in her mind was, with a car full of shoes, will they think that I’m a looter? I want non-black Angelenos to hear those stories, and to have those conversations. Have them in your workplace, and in your neighborhood, have them in your church, and wherever you are. If we don’t acknowledge that a black woman is four times more likely to die because she wants to bring a child into this world than a white woman, then we can’t see that. If we don’t see that if you’re a black man in Los Angeles, you’re 10 times more likely to be homeless than if you’re a white man, we can’t see that.
Eric Garcetti: (08:22)
And while not every death is as visible and as vicious as George Floyd’s, we have to own those deaths that come from the diabetes, and that come from COVID-19, and all of the things that visit black Americans disproportionately because of where they start life, and where this society values their life. The schools that they are born into, and the neighborhoods where they live that have been discarded and efforts to fund those schools rejected, the moments in which we see that racial justice can’t be the work of 10% of a nation. It has to be the work of a 100% of the nation. So to my fellow Angelenos, to my African American brothers and sisters who live in this city, I want to say, I hear you. And I hear that this isn’t just about the criminal justice system.
Eric Garcetti: (09:16)
This is about also our society, and where we put our resources. When we’ve done things like raise the minimum wage, and that disproportionately hits women and African Americans, we have to see those as important bricks in building this new house. When we do things like making community college free, that contributes to what we see with justice. But we also have from our budget, which is a moral document, which needs to keep people safe and protected, but the best way for people to be safe and protected, and I hear you on the street loud and clear is not just by throwing dollars always into police departments, but also into youth programs, and into educational opportunities, and into trauma-based recovery for people who carry trauma. I don’t have announcements tonight, but I want you to know that I’ve been having these conversations for the last two or three days.
Eric Garcetti: (10:13)
I’m having them with my fellow elected officials. I’m having them with community leaders. I’m having them with young people, who are demanding that I, and we collectively do better. That just as after the trauma of 1992, we emerged forward with saying never again to things like legalized choke holds, which killed black men in this city, never again to no independent investigations when there’s acts of police brutality. And never, again to many things we must ask, what are the never again moments today? And I look forward in the next day or two, and with mayors across the country, who I’ve been having this conversation with, to make sure that we build from this moment, that we hear from this moment, that we fund from this moment, that we look at the prism of race in America as one of the greatest sins that we have had, and one that stays with us. And that we can only get past when we all get past that together.
Eric Garcetti: (11:18)
That’s my simple pledge to you tonight. As we look at what has been a safer day, and a more beautiful day, I look forward to the day when we get rid of a curfew. When we don’t have national guard, when our police officers don’t have their helmets on, and I want to make sure we can see the difference between people who are looting. And we will go after folks who break into businesses, we will go after people who are looting, or worse, causing violence against the demonstrators or to peace officers. But let’s put that here, and not let that dominate what this moment and this movement is about. Because if we let that be the only image, if we let that be the only story we are missing our opportunity, and this isn’t going to go away soon, it will only go away when there is the trust that we are taking the actions, to build a summer of peace this summer in Los Angeles and across the country, with jobs for young people, with peaceful places to be with a mental health care that we need to deal with.
Eric Garcetti: (12:21)
What that feels like day after day after day to be a young black man who doesn’t know why people don’t trust him, look at him that way, feel that way. Every moment they inhabit a body, somebody powerfully said to me today, I’m an ally, but at the end of the day, I can turn off my phone. I can stop looking at Twitter. I can watch some TV, but for my black brothers and sisters, they can’t turn that off. They can’t stop being black. They can’t stop being seen by the racism that still pervades our country.
Eric Garcetti: (12:54)
There is so much work for us to do, and I am so proud of this city. I know that there’s those who just want to focus on the law and order. And I know it is my responsibility to throw everything I have into peace, restoration, and building in this city. But that doesn’t just happen from peace officers, that happens from our investments in communities, and in neighborhoods, whether or not we say to folks who have been involved in the criminal justice system, instead of, “You’re done with your time, but there’s no help, here’s a job, and here’s a way forward.” For us to look at what our fight with COVID-19 now is about, and please, please, please, everybody who’s been out there protesting, so beautifully around Los Angeles, make sure you get tested, and make sure you’re maintaining your physical distance, that you’re washing your hands, and wearing a mask. Imagine if these days lead to a spread that leads to things getting worse, and more people dying, please, go to Coronavirus.lacity.org/testing, and get a test.
Eric Garcetti: (13:55)
Not only did we have Dodger Stadium open, we’re reopening the Crenshaw Christian Center site, three or four sites that can do thousands and thousands of tests to meet the capacity that we need, because we have to defeat that threat to us all, which does discriminate disproportionately against communities of color. let me just take a breath to say we aren’t where we once were, but we aren’t where we need to be. We’re maybe stuck somewhere in the middle of the mountain, in this nation, in this city’s history. If you’re young, all you can see is up, and how far we have to go to reach the peak, and you should be unyielding and demanding that we keep climbing. And for some of us who’ve been around, who have seen the changes, who have worked hard to bring about things like implicit bias training, and deescalation in our police force, or to look at the ways that Summer Night Lights, and our gang reduction youth development programs came out of demands from the community to say, parks need to be places of peace for the summer and for our children.
Eric Garcetti: (15:02)
That helped us get up the mountain, and we can look down and see how far we’ve come. We have two choices, Los Angeles, either hopelessness, that this is a moment that can’t be fixed, that America is so broken that we can’t repair our hearts, and we can’t repair our streets, and we can’t bring peace to our lives. Or, we have hope. The only thing that has ever guided this country, our city, and our world. We all know, or many of us know the Negro national anthem. And I want to quote from it. In the first verse it ends, “Sing us a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us, and facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.”
Eric Garcetti: (16:14)
Tomorrow, the sun will rise above Los Angeles. Tomorrow, we have a choice to make, I have a choice to make, and I choose to listen, and to move forward, to bring this city together, to build peace on our streets, and in our neighborhoods, and to admit the country that we live in, that we love, and that we want to see do better. George Floyd died in our America, so that we may make sense of our future, to make sure that we never see that again. And that we do the work to carry the promise of this country. And of our City of Angels forward. I celebrate you on the streets. If you’re breaking the law, we will not let you change the message. And tomorrow, when a new sun comes, I hope that everybody in Los Angeles will embrace the work that we have to do together. Hopelessness is not our option. We only have hope, and we only have each other. With that, I’ll be happy to answer questions.
Steve Gregory: (17:43)
Good evening, Mr. Mayor, Steve Gregory with KFI Radio on behalf of the LA Press Corp. Our first question comes from Cindy Chang at the LA Times. Mr. Mayor, do you still have confidence in Michael Moore after his remark about looters being as responsible for George Floyd’s death as the police officers? Also, what are your thoughts about the remark? Moore seemed to walk it back, but then he spoke deliberately rather than making an off the cuff mistake. Also, what’s your view of the tactics used by the police to contain the protests, including rubber bullets and batons?
Eric Garcetti: (18:12)
Absolutely. Let me start with the second. I think that we’ve seen less of any of those tactics, and I hope that we can see the most minimal, if not zero of those tactics. I know what it’s like to see on those lines, to have police officers who have had their skulls fractured, who have maintained their resolve, and their restraint. So those tactics will sometimes be out there, but it is my direction to minimize those. And if we can, to not use those at all. Especially if there’s peaceful protesters. And I know for folks who are sometimes in the front, they don’t know that something just happened in the back, where bottles, or bricks were just thrown, but we have to figure out a way to make sure that peaceful protesting anywhere in Los Angeles does not meet that. Second, in terms of Chief Moore, I’ve known this man’s heart for decades. He was the person brought in after the Rampart scandal to clean up that station as a captain.
Eric Garcetti: (19:18)
When I heard him say what he said, I knew that he did not mean that. And I know that he corrected it right away. It is not the moral equivalent, and it does not reflect certainly my thinking. That statement is a wrong statement, that looters are the equivalent of murderers. Looting is wrong, but they are not the moral equivalents. The officers who killed George Floyd are murderers. I’m glad he quickly corrected it, and I’m glad that he further apologized as well. I also do believe that some folks went out there and said he said protestors. He never said protestors were, even when he misspoke. And I want to be very, very clear about that. If I believed for a moment that the chief believed that in his heart, he would no longer be our chief of police. I can’t say that any stronger. Next question, please.
Steve Gregory: (20:05)
The next questions comes from Robert Kubassek at KMBC television. Mr. Mayor, you’re considered by many to be one of the most progressive mayors in LAs history. And now hundreds show up outside your home to protest. We know you encourage the right to express their thoughts, but do you think these individuals have the wrong impression of you?
Eric Garcetti: (20:23)
Oh, I never worry about people’s impressions. I can only share my heart. I’ve shared my heart tonight, and I want people to know that I hear them. I hear them loud and clear. I’ve devoted my life to an incredibly difficult pathway professionally. There are a lot easier jobs than being mayor of Los Angeles, but the things that I love most in this city, my family and Los Angeles are both here in the City of Angels. And I’m never going to give up on either one, never going to give up on the opportunities of my daughter to grow up in a better city, and a better world than the one I inherited. And that daddy has an active role to play in building that. And I’m never going to give up on the voices that aren’t at the table, that aren’t heard. It’s what fuels me. Look, some people, when you become a public official lift you up, and make you into something much nicer and better than you are, and others tear you down.
Eric Garcetti: (21:16)
And in both cases, they probably don’t know you very well. But I’ve come to accept this is about the work that we do, not the feelings that we have. And I’m proud of the protesters across the city, who are peacefully expressing themselves. You don’t sign up for a job like mayor if you aren’t willing to not only take the heat, but to hear the voices. And I never let loud or angry or upset voices cloud me from hearing the words, and I never will stop that engagement like we had here today, whether it’s on the streets here, what we saw in the Valley, on the West side, anywhere. So I embrace our right to do that. And I’m glad that it has been peaceful, and separate from those folks are people who are breaking the law, who are in a separate category that might even happen on days where there aren’t protests. Let’s not confuse those, but let’s make sure people aren’t exploiting this righteous moment for their ends. Next question, thanks.
Steve Gregory: (22:16)
Next question comes from Claudia-
Speaker 4: (22:18)
All right. You’ve been listened to Eric, Mayor Garcetti speaking from city hall. All of this as protestors gathered outside the official residence of the mayor, the Getty House in Hancock Park. This is a live picture from AIR7 HD. You see a big presence there, although it has dwindled a bit in the last a half hour or so, but a lot of police presence there guarding the home, including Commander Cory Palka, who is that officer who took a knee yesterday and the video went viral. He was in solidarity with some of those demonstrators. Protestors are calling for the mayor to defund the LAPD, and use those funds to help marginalized communities instead.
Speaker 5: (22:51)
So we have two cameras there, one overhead with AIR7, the other one on the ground. You can see the split screen there. And during the press conference, it was not the topic of the fact that protestors were in front of his home did not come up. He has not spoken to that as of yet. Nevertheless, we are watching the situation because curfew hit at 6:00. It is now 6:23, 23 minutes after curfew. They’re in violation of the law. But so far we haven’t seen any arrests taking place. It has remained peaceful. Let’s point that out, very calm, very peaceful, but eventually something’s going to happen, because they are in violation of the law right now. Let’s go to Veronica Miracle on that same time…