Joe Biden spoke at George Floyd’s memorial service Tuesday via video. Having lost several close family members himself, Biden said he and his wife Jill “know the pain” in the hearts of Floyd’s family.
“Unlike most you must grieve in public, that is a burden,” Biden said, noting that he spoke to Floyd’s family before the ceremony about his shared experience of grieving in the public eye.
He also spoke directly to Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna in the video, saying: “You’re so brave, daddy’s looking down and he’s so proud of you.”
“I know you have a lot of questions no child should have to ask questions that black children have had to ask for generations,” he said.
Biden called for the end of the “systemic abuse that plagues American life,” and said that getting justice for Floyd’s death is only the beginning of rectifying that abuse.
BIDEN: Hello, everyone, on this day of prayer, where we try to understand Gods plan in our pain.
To Georges family and friends Jill and I know the deep hole in your hearts when you bury a piece of your soul deep in this Earth.
As Ive said to you privately we know. We know you will never feel the same.
For most people, the numbness you feel now, will slowly turn, day after day, season after season, into purpose through the memory of the one they lost.
But for you, that day has come before you can fully grieve. And unlike most, you must grieve in public. And, its a burden. A burden that is now your purpose to change the world for the better in the name of George Floyd.
Like so many others, Ive watched with awe as you summon the absolute courage to channel Gods grace and show the good man George was. To stir justice too long dormant and to move millions to act peacefully and purposefully.
But among all the people around the world who feel connected to this tragedy, are the ones who lost something that can never, ever be replaced.
To Georges children and grandchild, I know you miss you Dad and Granddad.
Little Gianna as I said to you when I saw you yesterday, you are so brave. Daddy is looking down and he is so proud of you. And I know you miss that bear hug that only he could give. That pure joy riding on his shoulders so you could touch the sky. The countless hours he spent playing any game you wanted because your smile, your laugh, your love is the only thing that mattered in at the moment.
And I know you have a lot of questions that no child should have to ask, questions that too many black children have had to ask for generations.
Why? Why is Daddy gone?
In looking through your eyes, we should all be asking ourselves why the answer is often too cruel and painful.
Why, in this nation, do too many black Americans wake up knowing they could lose their life in the course of living their life?
Why does justice not roll like a river nor righteousness like a mighty stream? Why?
Yet, ladies and gentlemen we cannot turn away. We must not turn away. We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism that stings at our very soul and from systemic abuse that still plagues American life.
As Thurgood Marshall once implored, America must dissent from indifference we must dissent from fear, the hatred, and the mistrust we must dissent because America can do better because America has no choice but to do better.
I grew up with Catholic Social Doctrine which taught me that faith without works is dead and you will know us by what we do.
Ladies and Gentlemen, weve got to deal with the denial of the promise of this nation to so many people for so long. This is about who we are, what we believe, and maybe most important, who we want to be. To ensure that all men and women are not only created equal but treated equally.
We can heal this nations wounds and remember its pain, not callous the heart and forget.
I know Reverend Sharpton is there in Houston with you today. Rev I watched you speak from Ecclesiastes last week in Minnesota, Chapter 3, Verse 1, to everything there is a time and a purpose and a season under the heavens.
Today, now is the time, the purpose, the season to listen and heal. Now is the time for racial justice. Thats the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.
And then, as you said, Gianna, your Daddy will have changed the world.
May God be with you, George Floyd, and your family.
And in the words from a hymn in my church based on the 91st Psalm, may He raise you up on eagles wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand.
God bless you all. God bless you all.
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