To my readers: This may be considered to be a political post, so if you aren’t in a frame of mind to read this type of commentary, just skip this one.  I’ll go back to photos and inspiring quotes later.

bloggers for peace

As someone who grew up in America’s segregated South, came of age during the Civil Rights Movement, and later became a civil rights investigator for the government (trained in Washington, D.C. at the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; yes, I’m laying it all out), I am deeply disturbed by what is going on in my country today.

When I was young, I was naive enough to think that we would progress to the point where we would not have to see rioting or protesting in the streets or hear allegations of police brutality again. As I write this, marchers are on the streets of New York City asking for justice for Eric Garner who died after being put in a chokehold (an illegal chokehold) by white police officers. Garner’s crime was selling cigarettes illegally on the street.  The incident was videotaped and has been televised.  It shows several police officers subduing Garner who had his hands up and was not resisting.  Only one police officer was likely to be indicted because the others were offered immunity in exchange for their testimony. In spite of the video evidence, the grand jury voted not to indict the officer in question.  For readers not familiar with the grand jury process, this means the officer will not be charged in Garner’s death and will not go to trial.

Last week we saw the violent reaction in Ferguson, Missouri when a grand jury failed to indict the  white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Today in Cleveland, Ohio a funeral was held for Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy who was shot by a white policeman.  The boy was in a park, with a toy gun that shot plastic pellets.  The person who called to report this told the dispatcher that the gun likely was a toy, but the police officer shot the boy within 2 seconds of arriving on the scene.  Results of the grand jury proceedings in this case will be released soon.

What is happening here?  Why are the police responding with such excessive force?  Why do they shoot first and ask questions later, when it’s too late?  Why are police forces around the country, even in small towns,  also becoming militarized, with military weapons and military vehicles?  These are disturbing developments.

I hope that out of this mess comes a much-needed dialogue about race, about police brutality and the use of excessive force, about the dignity of all people, about due process of law and equality under the law for all people, and about justice.

For the record, I am white.

King quote

Einstein quote

LBJ quote

Pope John Paul II quote

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter

  1. Thank you for publishing this. I must be about your age, because I was entered jr. high in only the third integrated class the school hosted. I remember watching civil rights marches on the evening news when I was very young. And I was raised with black housekeeper/ nannies who took wonderful care of me. I felt from a very young age that all people are of equal worth and importance… which led to some interesting arguments within my family, as we were all living in the south. These recent cases of police murder just sicken us. We are disturbed watching these secretive grand juries vote to not indict the officers involved, who so clearly have committed murder. Police are not supposed to also serve as judge, jury and executioner, as these young white officers feel so smug in doing on the streets of our communities. We all need to keep in mind that while this is happening to black males today, as it becomes commonplace, we will see it happening with more frequency among the general population. We must protect everyone’s rights, and in so doing, know that it is the only way to protect the rights of our dearest loved ones.
    You’ve chosen wonderful quotations here. Best wishes, WG

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  2. Thank you for your comments. You are so right that as this becomes commonplace, we will see it more towards everyone. (I’m glad you could see the quotes. When I published the post they weren’t there, or at least I couldn’t see them. So I went back and added them in again, using a different website to create them.)

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  3. First let me say I do like what you wrote..but I think your title should real – All Lives Matter….I have seen both sides of the issue – it is time that we truly see people and not color, this goes for all black, white, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian peoples to name a few. It really is not a black and white issue but how we see people. I also agree with the comment, “We must protect everyone’s rights”. I always say the older I get the less I understand people, and I just don’t understand the hatred that is all around us especially those in authority.

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    1. You are quite right that it boils down to how we see people. And all lives do matter. All are equal in God’s eyes, and everyone’s rights should be protected. It’s just that what we are seeing lately has involved excessive force against black males, and that was my point in this post.

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