ATLANTA — Protests over the death of George Floyd have been gaining national attention. The ones in Atlanta on Friday started off peaceful but later turned into violent demonstrations and looting of local businesses.
Politicians, business owners and celebrities are speaking out to share their thoughts on Floyd's death, the issues his killing have brought to the forefront and the protests that turned to chaos, specifically in Atlanta.
Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, co-founder of Home Depot
“A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over. People are scared and in pain. Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change.
“The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right. Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale. It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change. Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night.
“Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great – its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all. Our Family Foundation and the rest of our businesses here in Atlanta and elsewhere remain committed to being part of the solution.”
Tyler Perry, Atlanta native and media mogul
“Please, please stop this violence!! Looting is NOT THE ANSWER!!!!”
“And listen to me, be careful where you are getting your information to JOIN protests!! There are people and other countries who are posting things pretending to be US, pretending to stand for peaceful protest, but they are trying to incite us into violence and chaos to try and do more harm!!”
“Do not fall for this foolishness!!! Please stop the violence!”
Killer Mike, rapper and Atlanta native
“I’ve got a lot of love and respect for police officers.”
“We don’t want to see Targets burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burned to the ground."
“It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy ... We have to be better than this moment. We have to be better than burning down our own homes because if we lose Atlanta what else do we have?”
“I want you to go home. I want you to talk to 10 of your friends. I want you guys to come up with real solutions. If you sit in your homes ... instead of burning your home to the ground, you will have time to properly plot, plan, strategize and organize and mobilize in effective ways.”
“Two of the most effective ways is first taking your butt to the computer and making sure you fill out your census so that people know who you are and where you are. The next thing is making sure you exercise your political bully power and going to local elections and beating up the politicians you don’t like.”
“It is time to ‘beat up’ prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth. It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs."
“CNN -- Ted [Turner] did a great thing. I love CNN, I love Cartoon Network. But I’d like to say to CNN right now: ‘Karma’s a mother. Stop feeding fear and anger every day. Stop making people feel so fearful. Give them hope.'”
Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayor
"You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this ... We are better than this as a country. This is not the legacy of civil rights in America. This is chaos and we’re buying into it. This won’t change anything.”
“What I see happening on the streets ... This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.”
“If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country."