Statement by Chargé d’Affaires Philip Laidlaw

Panama City, June 2, 2020. –As Panama’s Mes de la Etnia Negra, where we celebrated the contributions of Afro Panamanians around the world, comes to a close and Pride Month starts, I can’t help but reflect on the pain and difficult introspection the United States is facing. These months, like Black History Month in the United States, don’t just celebrate the accomplishments of these communities. They recall their persecution because of who they are.

I am saddened by the murder of George Floyd. My heart aches for him, for his family, and so many others who came before. I’m angered and indignant that this is still happening. The United States is at its best when we stand for justice, for equality, and for inclusion. And it’s at difficult moments like these that we can become a stronger society.

The country I love and represent proudly is reckoning with tragic loss and facing uncomfortable truths about who we are and how we treat each other. And while I’m saddened in this dark hour, I’m hopeful we’ll address our challenges and start the long, hard process of correcting historic wrongs.  When we do, we will be better than we’ve ever been.