What an astounding, challenging and exciting time to live in this country, in this state, in this village. Yes, we are standing at the edge of an abyss. But, for the first time in years, I have hope for our future.
This hope is not founded in our history. This hope is based on the hundreds of young and old Black men and Black women who stood in protest at the place in Minneapolis where George Floyd, yet another Black victim of police brutality and systemic racism, was murdered by policemen.
And, soon, that growing number of Black protesters was joined by hundreds, then thousands, of others outraged by this last of an endless series of murders of Black men and Black women. And it was Hispanic, Asian, Native American, more recently arrived immigrants, white men and white women, young and old, who joined the growing number of thousands in hundreds of American cities, and in cities around the world, in a coalition of outrage, of protest, and with the determination to inspire and demand change.
Their protest was fueled by yet another police murder of another Black man, Rayshard Brooks, shot in the back in Atlanta. And the protesters risked the deadly coronavirus to present a united front against the rubber bullets, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the batons for police beatings, and the autocratic attempt by a rogue American president to order the U.S. Army against their peaceful, historic protest.
The demand of the protesters: that America recognize the humanity of Black men and Black women. A modest demand.
But to achieve what the protesters demand will require tectonic changes in this country — in American justice, American education, American health care, the American economy. This worldwide protest march is now more than a demand for change in a systemically racially biased justice system. It is also a demand for economic justice, for health justice, for educational justice — for human justice.
In this historic time, the most recent police murder of two Black men, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, has given us the opportunity and the responsibility to finally make the promises in our Bill of Rights into the reality of today and tomorrow.
Let us stop claiming “American exceptionalism.” Instead, let us look at the coalition of young and old, men and women, Black and white, Hispanic and Asian, Native American and more recently arrived immigrants. Let us stop searching for tribal identity, for some imagined superiority, implied by that haughty phrase “American exceptionalism.”
Let us instead look inside ourselves: Let us look for our decency and our common humanity.
Attorney at law
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One fine body…