SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom chose the backdrop of a place of worship led by an African-American pastor on Monday to speak emotionally about George Floyd in Minneapolis and the anger and pain being felt over yet another black man's death during an encounter with poilce.
"Black people are not responsible for what's happening in this country," Newsom said. "We are. Our institutions. Let's call that out."
Speaking from the Genesis Church in Sacramento led by Pastor Tecoy Porter, Newsom told anyone listening that "we have a unique responsibility" to meet and "stop paying lip service" to the desperate need for equality and ending systemic racism.
"What will we do differently to achieve justice in the long run?" Newsom asked. He didn't answer his own question or offer any proposed legislation to help get to a more equitable place in society.
He also specifically addressed the violence and looting that erupted across the country over the weekend.
"People have lost patience because they haven't seen progress," Newsom said. "People have lost patience for a reason. These communities are being torn asunder because they are not being listened to."
To the protesters, Newsom said: "You are right to feel wrong. I also have lost patience."
And to the small groups of vandals, breaking windows, stealing merchandise and torching buildings, Newsom said: "We hear you as well. But we don't have the same sensitivities. When you try to cause pain on others and not advance the cause of justice, that is not serving the greater good and we also need to call that out."
Porter said that George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25 at the hands of a white police officer opened yet another wound, and highlighted the double pandemic occurring in the country right now: Coronavirus and the virus of racism.
Newsom agreed: "Racism is a pandemic on top of a pandemic."
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.