Nine members of the Delaware State Legislature released a letter June 17 denouncing systemic racism and pledging full commitment for all legislative reforms necessary to secure equal justice and equal treatment for Delaware’s Black community.

“The reality of black disenfranchisement and systemic racism in our society today demands that legislators acknowledge their past failures and face their responsibilities to repair the damage,” said a release from the lawmakers.

“To begin healing the wounds suffered by black people we must first acknowledge and accept our responsibilities in inflicting those wounds, whether by our actions or through a complicity of silence,” said Rep. John Kowalko.

State Rep. Ray Seigfried added that "Meaningful change will require a deeper commitment from all of us. As I confront this situation head-on, I realize that this is more than just banning chokeholds or kneeholds. It’s also about civil rights, public trust, community policing, national standards, transparency and accountability. It’s about Federal, State, and local legislative changes that together will create new behaviors from law enforcement, institutions, and agencies to protect every citizen equally.”

"There is no excuse that parents of Black children must still have 'the talk,' due to the persistent gulf between policing of White and Black America,” said Rep. Paul Baumbach. “The murder of George Floyd has led to the raising of voices across our state and country, demanding change. We must act, now."

“Delaware’s white state legislators comprise more than 85% of the total body and that significant imbalance makes it obvious with whom the responsibility for change rests,” said Kowalko.

In addition to Baumbach, Kowalko and Seigfriend, the letter was signed by state Reps. David Bentz, Gerald Brady, Earl Jaques, Harris McDowell, David Sokola and John Viola.