Friday, September 22, 2023
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Friday, September 22, 2023

Commissioner Manning: “Through the fate of having white parents, I was given privileges not born to my friends of color.”

Editor’s Note: The following remarks were delivered today by Beaver County Commissioner Jack Manning (R) during a public meeting of the Board of Commissioners. They come in reaction to the death of George Floyd of Minneapolis. We are publishing Manning’s statement in full as prepared by the commissioner.

When I took my oath of office a little over 150 days ago, I vowed that I would always try to make the best decisions I could with those things I can control and try to influence to the best of my ability those things I can’t. I also promised myself to continue speaking truth to power, and as someone now in power, however limited, to speak the truth from the platform I have been given.

If you know the story of my parents and my two sisters and me, you’d know that we come from working class, devout and humble roots. We never thought we were privileged. But through the fate of having white parents, I was given privileges not born to my friends of color. I am white, they are not, and I will never know the true depths of their pain in a society where we continue to demonstrate institutional and social racism. There is zero chance that I, or either of my two sons, would ever be pinned to the pavement with a knee to my neck until I died, in front of white citizens compelling an officer to stop.

My late sister Susan, and my brother-in-law Reverend Rollin Kirk, lived the last 20 years or so of their lives in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. They preached, served and fought for social justice their entire lives. Sue will be gone 15 year on June 14. She, as I am, would be horrified and numbed by the continuing pain and suffering being inflicted discriminately on members of our society, especially our black community. We started this meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, as we strive to form a more perfect democratic republic, we have failed to live up to the last six words of that pledge, “with liberty, and justice, for all”. I am hoping that in this latest case, that the family and friends of George Floyd, get the justice they deserve under the constitution.

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