STATEMENT FROM MAYOR CURTISTENE S. MCCOWAN ON THE TRAGIC KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR NATION:
DeSoto- There have been many times in history that our nation has faced tragedy and imminent threats, yet each time we came together as one to get through it. However, the divisions that we are experiencing today are potentially more dangerous than the deadly Pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives. Our nation is experiencing one of the saddest, most challenging times in our history, and we are going to have to put aside our differences and renew our commitments to each other. We must find a way out of this together; we have no other choice.
Last Memorial Day, May 25th, we grieved for our sacred War Dead. It’s always a day of sadness, but it was compounded this year by the many recent deaths from COVID-19. My heart was heavy, but it was a burden that I knew I could bear. But something happened later that day in Minneapolis that pushed my heart, and the soul of our nation, to a breaking point. We watched in horror as George Floyd died a slow and agonizing death at the hands of four men who were supposed to protect him. And what was most terrifying is that it is a tragedy that we keep seeing time and time again.
Something like this should never happen in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. In a land where freedom is cherished and where all men are proclaimed to be created equal in the eyes of God. We are living in the United States of America in the year 2020, but the actions that we keep seeing look more like those of the 1850s, and the reaction to this hideous crime threatened to bring us back to the “Days of Rage” of the 1960s. Brothers and Sisters, we are moving as a society in the wrong direction, and we need to do something to correct it!
While we cannot control what others do, we can take responsibility for our own actions. We’re going to have to. We can and should do everything in our power to work with the younger generation who don’t have the full perspective of history so that they don’t repeat the same dreadful mistakes that recent generations appear to keep making.
DeSoto is not perfect, but a great many of us have been shaped by the injustices of the past and have vowed never to let them take root again in our community. So many of us have taken pains to pass on our experiences and our teachings to our children and our grandchildren. We have made progress here that has not fully taken root in many other cities. But we can’t rest on that. We can’t stop teaching these important lessons, and we can’t stop learning. We need to continue to respect one another and listen to one another.
In this spirit of respect and constructive dialogue, I have asked City Manager Brandon Wright and Police Chief Joe Costa to schedule a Town Hall Meeting where we can discuss how DeSoto’s Police and community members can continue to work together to build stronger relations. I will be participating in this meeting with both gentlemen, DeSoto Police & Clergy Chair Rev. Caesar Rentie, and many of my colleagues on the City Council on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, in the City Council Chambers. Everyone will need to wear facemasks and since COVID-19 seating restrictions will limit available seats, you may attend this meeting online at https://www.desototexas.gov/DeSotoTownHall.
We come together to better understand each other and to strengthen the bonds that hold our community together. We also do it to learn from tragedies and to take all the steps that we can to prevent them from ever happening again. I would like to extend DeSoto’s heartfelt condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with them, the mayors, other leaders, and citizens in Minneapolis/St. Paul and other cities where demonstrations have been taking place.
Finally, in the face of our national tragedy and grief, I am honored to serve the residents of a city where we can come together, pray together, and work together for the betterment of all. My prayer is that we will continue to strive toward that goal of “One DeSoto,” a city where everyone thrives, remains engaged, and uses their God-given talents to help move our city forward. Through prayer and uncompromising faith in God, I am confident that together, we will. May God bless you, our city, and our nation.