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Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Pennsylvania on Friday for a listening session with community and faith leaders.
Watch the round table stream live in the video player above.
They gathered at Covenant Church in Pittsburgh.
“I’m inspired by the faith and the testimonies of people gathered here,” said Pence. “I’m humbled by the words of encouragement about the progress that we have made. But I am challenged to continue to build on that progress.”
The vice president’s visit comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who pleaded “I can’t breathe,” as a white officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into the black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
In death, Floyd has created an invaluable and, some say, unprecedented moment for the national struggle against institutional racism and inequality.
Across the country and around the world, outrage turned into action as protests have grown.
The Trump administration has come under fire for the president’s reaction to Floyd’s death and actions against protests in the following weeks.
Trump said Thursday he would pursue an executive order to encourage police departments to meet “current professional standards for the use of force,” while slamming Democrats for broadly branding police as the problem.
He also defended his calls on governors and mayors to aggressively quell violent protests that erupted across the country.
Activists say it isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all their money.
They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on other things communities across the U.S. need, like housing and education.
Laura Santhanam is the Health Reporter and Coordinating Producer for Polling for the PBS NewsHour, where she has also worked as the Data Producer. Follow @LauraSanthanam
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