ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The fight for racial equality has been going on for far too long. Over the last week, much of the nation and world have taken to the streets demanding change following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

First Vice-Chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Albuquerque, Pamelya Herndon discusses how we got to this point in society and what needs to be done for a legitimate change. The NAACP strives to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all people and to eliminate discrimination.

In the last two weeks, people around the world witnessed the unprovoked killing of three black people and have resulted in sparks of outrage and disgust. Protesters have used the same power of protest used during the American Revolution and Civil Rights era when unjust activity was happening too often. The cry was loud and clear as there should be no more unjustified attacks on any person.

Herndon explains the significance of watching George Floyd have his life taken from him and what it means to the black community. “Primarily as I’ve been thinking about this and talking to African Americans, it was that the symbolism of that knee on George Floyd’s neck and pushing the breath out of him and it was the symbolism of pushing the breath out of young African American females and males and the representation of the racism and the weight of it that continued to be felt with every single breath that George Floyd lost so I just share with you that that was a pivotal moment and that was also a moment that will resonate, with the people not only in this country but around the world for a long time,”said Herndon.

Herndon explains that the NAACP believes that protests must be peaceful so that the demand for justice is not muted. However, that demand must be forcefully loud so that change will occur.

While there have been countless black lives lost in America, Herndon says the last time this outpouring of emotion was felt was with the killings of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. In addition to the entire nation seeing the senseless killing of George Floyd, a pandemic gripped the world resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates so people are taking to the street to be able to release their frustrations.

Herndon says that instances of looting and violence tend to overshadow what the people mourning the death of George Floyd are trying to accomplish. “So we’re asking those who are out there and who are engaging in protests for some other reason that is more violent than anything we are looking to participate in to stop and to let our voices be heard and the reason for the protest behind George Floyd be raised and lifted,” said Herndon.

Herndon says the change in New Mexico will start once there is training for police officers to understand when unlawful behavior is taking place in addition to the community looking closely at the consent decree between the City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice to ensure transformation occurs. For more information on civil rights, visit the NAACP’s website.