Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Murder of George Floyd Impacts the World of Culture
Union of Cuban Writers and Artists condemns police murder of George Floyd, expressing solidarity with sisters and brothers in the U.S. protesting violations of human rights and racial discrimination

Pedro de la Hoz |
June 9, 2020 12:06:44

Minneapolis in flames after the death of George Floyd. Photo: Twitter

Musicians, writers, actors, screenwriters, painters, designers, graffiti artists: the artistic community in the United States has not only sent a clear message repudiating the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, but is demanding justice and reparations following the brutal event.

These expressions are echoed by citizens of diverse ethnic backgrounds and skin colors, indicating growing awareness of an evil deeply rooted in the U.S. social system.

News agencies have focused on the reactions of so-called celebrities, such as singers Rihanna, Billie Eillish, Ariana Grande, and actors Jamie Foxx and Ryan Reynolds. Beyoncé and her spouse, rapper Jay Z, who have been using their music to denounce racism for years and have launched an eloquent message. The author of ‘Single Ladies’ posted a video on Instagram encouraging her 147 million fans to not only protest, but also sign petitions to hold the cops responsible for Floyd's death accountable. "We need justice for George Floyd. We have all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We are devastated and very upset. We cannot normalize this pain," the singer wrote.

Actor George Clooney wrote an article in The Daily Beast in which he concluded emphatically: "Racism is America's pandemic.” Going beyond the current situation, he reflected on similar events that have taken place for years: "We need systemic change in our law enforcement and criminal justice system. We need politicians who reflect basic fairness for all their citizens equally. Not leaders who fuel hatred and violence,” referring to President Donald Trump's response to the protests.

Filmmaker Spike Lee, in no uncertain terms, agreed with Clooney about the unfortunate naturalization of racism in the United States: “The land was stolen from native people, genocide was committed against the native people, and ancestors were stolen from Africa and brought here to work. So the foundation of the United States of America is genocide, stealing land and slavery… People are angry for a reason. It's not like you're just born angry. You're angry because you live every day in this world where the system is not set up for you to win…”

Murals, posters, drawings, visual works are giving an urgent sense of the outrage and the need to fight the racism deeply embedded in U.S. society. One of the most striking statements was made by Jammie Holmes, using Floyd's last words, “I can´t breathe,” on banners carried by small planes over the cities of New York, Detroit, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The Union of Cuban Writers and Artists condemned the police murder of African-American George Floyd in a nation where, under the administration of Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists of all kinds feel at ease, free to promote hate.

In a statement released in Havana, signed by the José Antonio Aponte Commission of UNEAC, the organization of the Cuban artistic and intellectual vanguard, expressed solidarity "with our white, black, Latino, Native American and Asian brothers and sisters, and all other ethnic groups, who are closing ranks against human rights violations and facing ethnic hatred and racial discrimination.”

“The Cuban people consider ourselves friends and brothers of the U.S. people," the document states, “Many are the historical and cultural ties that unite the two nations. Our political and economic ties could also be many, if it were not for hostility toward the Cuban Revolution of U.S. administrations, since 1959, and even greater, if it were not for the intolerance and obsession of the latest tenant of the White House. The noble people of Martí and Maceo's homeland are not happy to see suffering in Lincoln's homeland. Just as the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed for six decades on the Cuban people by the most recalcitrant sector of the United States power elite is condemned by the noble people of that country, Cuba strongly condemns the violation of human rights in the United States.”

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