To say we are living in sad and dangerous times is an understatement. The rage of 400 years, the rage of 3.5 years, has erupted onto the streets.
The murder of George Floyd was absolutely terrible. But the way various Americans responded to it might offer the chance of hope for the beginning of change. The first part of that change is understanding the outrage and mindset of our fellow citizens.
While I don’t have all the answers, let me offer this: peaceful protest must be protected. Those who wish to be opportunistic and destroy our country and its businesses in order to create anarchy must be stopped. Those who take advantage of a volatile situation and loot must be arrested, but we also must understand our country’s socio-economic poverty and take steps to address it. Then a dialogue can begin. But change does not come overnight, and that work will go on for years. What can that change look like?
Allow citizens to overlook the powers of police and protect citizens against abuse. Police should not be empowered to dominate a community. The answer to that is community policing. Police are not empowered to murder in cold blood. We need a deeper psychological review of those applying to be police officers and a firm limit to the number of complaints against an officer before they are dismissed. Finally, there must be a change in our criminal social justice system. Those are but a few beginning steps, but those steps cover rules and legislation. They do not cover deep-seated racism, not only in our political and economic system but also throughout our nation’s cultural identity.
The one image from the last week that expresses this well to me is that of a Black teenager. She said directly to the TV camera: “Because I am Black, I am frightened every day of my life.” America needs to be a place where all of our children can feel secure, a place where they can grow up feeling they can prosper and be proud. America, we have work to do.