May 25th will be marked in history as a day many “lost their innocence.” No one could deny a brutal murder took place, by the hands of law enforcement, against a human being who was no threat to anyone when this occurred.
What came to light for others is what people of color, especially Black people, have known for centuries. Plessy vs. Ferguson — separate but equal — and the Brown vs. Board of Education overturning Plessy decisions, didn’t tell the true story of the viciousness and prevalence of institutionalized racism in our nation.
Pandemic reveals racial inequalities
Conditions in the United States are separate and UNEQUAL. In terms of education, housing, health care, employment, wealth, and, as illustrated time and again, in the criminal justice system.
The pandemic has illustrated the savage inequalities in health care along racial lines for those who may have been unaware, as nurses know only too well.
We mourn the loss of loved ones, no matter how they are taken from us. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of George Floyd, whose death opened up a searing wound not only for the grieving family, but for a nation and a world.
Hearts and minds
The nearly unprecedented guilty verdict visited upon the murderer may give us cause to wonder if things are really changing, if there is hope for a country so long divided, with a history and reality that is viewed through many different lenses, that is experienced in dramatically different ways, depending upon what you look like, where you come from, where you live and work, and what you think.
Laws are needed, for sure; judgments are critical, no doubt — but entire systems must be examined and assessed for fairness, equity and humanitarianism in a country that has the resources and capability to do so much more for the vast majority of its inhabitants.
And, whatever you think about the demonstrations and protests that have marked the national landscape over the past year, they have provoked a response. They have brought people together…and they have pulled people apart. They have epitomized what a people in pain looks like.
Ultimately, we have to come together as a nation to change our hearts and minds to the extent that we can empathize with those whose experiences and social realities are different, to be open to taking a new look at what we’ve been told is our history, to fully understand our relationship to power in our country, to embrace our differences with the overwhelming majority of our people with love, understanding and respect, so that true dialogue and interchange can take place, so that we can all live with dignity.
There are a scant number of people who wield extraordinary economic, political and social power over the so-called “99%,” the rest of us, who have so much more in common with one another than with those who lord over us. Unity and solidarity are words. Our actions give these concepts true meaning.
Do we have the courage to step out of our comfort zones to take action around what we say we believe? That all of us have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Time will tell.