The thoroughly justified anguish and outrage Black Americans across this country — and in Baltimore — are feeling after the murder of George Floyd and centuries of oppression, serves to remind us that police brutality and racism are still with us.

I join you in that anguish and in the commitment to tear down systems of oppression and structural racism. This moment is yet another reminder of the need for a new era of justice, accountability, and an end to police brutality.

I support the right to protest for change. In the coming days, I pray for peaceful protest here in Baltimore, and I pray for justice for George Floyd. In the long term, I pray for a culture where Black people do not live in fear of their neighbors or those meant to protect them, where law enforcement coexists and engages safely with communities of color, and where Black Lives Matter.

I’m also taught that faith without works is dead. As we start to move forward, we must build systems of accountability. The Consent Decree in Baltimore gives us a blueprint for changing the culture of policing, restoring trust with communities, and creating accountability and strong policies for the use of force. The call to protect the lives of Black Baltimoreans and Americans around the country is not new. Our leaders must listen, bear down, dismantle systems of oppression, and fulfill the Consent Decree mandates.

It’s been five years since the murder of Freddie Gray. And yet in just the last few weeks, we’ve seen the cruel force of racism continuing in the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and undoubtedly more death and violence that hasn’t made national headlines. In this moment, Baltimore desperately needs to come together unified in a conversation on ending structural racism and inequality, and reconciliation to achieve the possible - one Baltimore. I believe in a better Baltimore and in a more just future for our country. I know we can get there together.