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Pritzker sends message to all state workers on George Floyd aftermath

Thursday, Jun 4, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This was sent to all state employees earlier today…


More than a week has passed since the killing of George Floyd. I know for so many of us it has seemed like a year. Watching the video of white Minneapolis police officers holding down and callously choking the life out of a black man was stunning to anyone who has human emotions. It’s hard to find the right words to express what I feel. I am disgusted. And I am ashamed. Those are just two inadequate words for emotions I’ve had that are indescribable.

I have an even harder time imagining how it must feel to be Black and watch what happened. I don’t know what it is like to fear that racial violence could harm my children and my family. And I am horrified that Black people must live with the dread of having an encounter with the police that looks like George Floyd’s – and may already have had encounters with police that were dehumanizing.

Fear and dread give way to rage, and then to action. For all of us who work in the executive branch of our government — we are in a position to act on our resolve. We have put more people of color in positions of power in Illinois government than ever before in our history. I did this for a reason. It isn’t enough to just have allies in positions of power. There must be people with the lived experiences actually occupying the chairs “in the room where it happens.” That work continues every day of our administration.

The peaceful protesters have offered us a unique opportunity to push for change from inside the halls of power. I feel tremendous responsibility to act – to put the same energy into pushing for reform that we put into our response to COVID over the last few months. I am already working to develop a comprehensive set of proposals – both legislative and administrative – to address racial inequities in our state that have existed since its very founding. I am also actively engaging with leaders in Illinois and around the country to evaluate ideas and bear the responsibility of charting the path forward.

I support peaceful protest – I have engaged in it and have seen the positive influence it can have on policy. I believe deeply that we must address the grievances expressed by the peaceful protestors, and I’m committed to taking substantive and timely actions.

Words are not enough. We need action. I was elected with a mandate for big change, and I fully intend to utilize that mandate in the months and years ahead to dismantle the architecture of inequity. I cannot fix this all at once – but I can promise you we will work every day to make real change – no matter how difficult.

On a more personal note, I want to make sure the Black members of our state government know that I’m aware that the responsibilities of your job may have made the last week that much more difficult to bear. I encourage you to reach out to any senior members of our administration. It’s our job to look out for one another - to move forward with kindness and empathy. I take very seriously the health and well-being of all the people who work for me and for the state. I stand with each of you and am deeply grateful for your service.

Governor Pritzker


  1. - The 647 - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 8:15 pm:

    It was not sent to all state employees. Just checked my junk folder.

  2. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 8:22 pm:

    So much better than the Rauner-era letters, trying to bamboozle and con state workers into cutting themselves.

  3. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:05 pm:


    Everyone has their own priorities.

  4. - 44th - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:06 pm:

    Remember how we were hit with letters about COVID non stop form every company in the world. Well now my inbox is flooded with letters about the protests, etc. I would say actions, not PR, would be more convincing.

  5. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:07 pm:

    I work for a different constitutional officer, so I wouldn’t have gotten this letter. I’m also not Black. Therefore, my reaction is not likely to be exactly the same as them. No, he did not address law enforcement or public safety workers- that should have been done.

    What he did do was something that Rauner never did. He sent a letter to his employees that said You matter, I care, You are important. And I Believe him.

  6. - skeptic - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:18 pm:

    “Not all employees…” If you’re not in the group, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  7. - Payback - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:21 pm:

    I give Pritzker credit for leadership. If we only had a fraction of that leadership ability in the Illinois AG’s office under Kwame Raoul. Take baby steps, like list the names of the lawyers who supervise the well-hidden “public integrity bureau” on the AG website. There should be some work for them to do nowdays, right?

    If only Kwame investigated public corruption with the speed at which he fled the City Club luncheon in October at the Union League Club, Illinois citizens wouldn’t have to wait another 50 years until the next Eliot Ness or Patrick Fitzgerald shows up in the Northern District of Illinois.

  8. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:22 pm:


    The point of the Governor’s email was to address the endemic racism experienced by people of color, blacks in particular.

    Support for law enforcement is not appropriate when there are recent and numerous stories of police brutality inflicted on peaceful demonstrations, innocent bystanders, and media. This blog has just such a story posted for comment. Police have a tough job. But that doesn’t give them the right to brutalize people peaceful demonstrating, or driving through a shopping mall parking lot.

    The entire system of policing must be overhauled. Until such time, support for law enforcement officers must be earned rather than assumed.

    Do I trust my small town cops? Gonna have to think about that for a while.

  9. - Pundent - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:47 pm:

    =Not one word in support of Illinois LE or public safety employees that are being placed in no-win situations on the front lines of this mess.=

    An African American man had his life taken away by a police officer for no apparent reason while other officers stood and watched. Expressing support for law enforcement under those circumstances would be tone deaf. Pritzker is saying what most are. We must do better. That is the message.

  10. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 9:58 pm:

    Payback -
    “… the next Eliot Ness or Patrick Fitzgerald shows up in the Northern District of Illinois.”

    You do know that those gentlemen were federal officials? You do know that when AG Madigan investigated Illinois corruption, she was asked to stand down by … Patrick Fitzgerald … ?

  11. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 10:12 pm:


    Placed in no win situations? Go watch the video Rich posted from the Brickyard Mall. The only no win situation was for four black women to try and decide if it was safe enough to go to a mall and buy birthday decorations or if they would have their car vandalized by police and thrown on the ground for it.

    Stop yourself. This letter is for those people who are marginalized, afraid, left to really worry about the impacts of racism and police brutality.

    The cops can get their letter next week. Take a break snowflake.

  12. - State Employee 2 - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 10:59 pm:

    I work for the AG, we got ours from him. Nice letter too.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 11:11 pm:

    People, what did I tell you about responding to anonymous commenters?

  14. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jun 4, 20 @ 11:29 pm:

    “I am already working to develop….”

    He has been in office a year.

    To be fair, his big first-year accomplishment - cannabis reform - was wiped out by a pandemic. Bit it seems like nothing else was in the hopper.

    This statement sounds a lot like someone campaigning for office…like the reminders of his accomplishments….rather than someone actually running the office.

    Speaking of running the office, 24 I/me with only 8 us/we. Not a single mention of his Lt. Governor either…what is that about?

    It was not a bad letter, but I was hoping for more. A whole lot more.

  15. - dbk - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 12:51 am:

    I find it interesting that a commenter focused on the word “disgraceful” - to my mind, the most important sentence of all here is what follows: “And I am ashamed.”

    Do we all get how significant it is that a big-state governor came out and said that?

    It will be interesting to see what legislation is actually proposed and passed. We we saw a lot of civil rights legislation in the sixties, too. Legislation is necessary, but a change of mindset is equally crucial. And before that can happen, we all need to be able to say “I am ashamed” - and mean it.

    I keep returning to Brown v. Board of Education (1954)and the fact that schools today are more segregated than they were in 1980. What does that say about the state of civil rights in America?

  16. - ArchPundit - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 1:46 am:

    Understanding that he doesn’t understand what citizens who happen to not be white is a good first step in working to fixing this. I joke that I look like him and I do though I’m not Jewish and that alone has issues I cannot fully understand, but he expresses my feelings right now well in that even though I’ve tried to be an ally to African-Americans and others I still have a lot to learn. We all have a lot of hard work to do.

  17. - The Dude - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 7:01 am:

    I wonder if anyone will click reply all.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:04 am:

    A thoughtful email attempting to show empathy and attempting to show thoughtful compassion.

  19. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:05 am:

    Ugh, his rhetoric.

    (that was snark BTW)

  20. - Sangamo Girl - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:06 am:

    It is eloquent and heartfelt and I appreciate it. I haven’t heard word one from my agency’s management team so this was needed.

  21. - Miso - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:19 am:

    “ Kwame Raoul. Take baby steps, like list the names of the lawyers who supervise the well-hidden “public integrity bureau” on the AG website. There should be some work for them to do nowdays, right?”

    You mean like asking for the authority to conduct Pattern and practice investigations of police departments?

    If you’re upset that the AG doesn’t list the names of each AGG’s name and unit of assignment, FOIA it and post it here. Your hierarchy of priorities is questionable.

  22. - Roads Scholar - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:38 am:

    Payback - “Take baby steps, like list the names of the lawyers who supervise the well-hidden “public integrity bureau” on the AG website.”

    See here, literally on the front page of the AG’s website:

    Your beef is that you, Mr. Payback, don’t have a personal direct line to the individual attorneys who serve 12 million+ Illinois citizens? The reason they don’t do that is because there are a lot of nuts out there who do things like post anonymous comments under the name “Payback”.

  23. - CrazyHorse - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 8:51 am:

    ==We have put more people of color in positions of power in Illinois government than ever before in our history. I did this for a reason. It isn’t enough to just have allies in positions of power. There must be people with the lived experiences actually occupying the chairs “in the room where it happens.” That work continues every day of our administration.==

    Great statement. However, the follow through necessitates, actually demands fresh faces, not the same entrenched black pols that have had seats at the table for decades. Reshuffling the cards won’t do it, a fresh deck is needed.

    I have faith that J.B. is up to the task. I don’t agree with him on many issues but I do on this one.

  24. - Arock - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 9:23 am:

    Are him and his buddies with the money coming to the rescue to help rebuild the areas that were looted and have been underserved for years or do they feel only government money works that way?

  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 5, 20 @ 9:29 am:

    === Are him and his buddies===

    Like Bruce Rauner or Ken Griffin?

    It’s too early in the day to have faux outrage when systematic racism needs everyone pulling together, not divisive words that small minded folks think make political points.

    We’re WAY past the point to think gibberish like that is helpful.

    We need to look at the global response to the actions and build on this together, and learn a heck of a lot too.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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