The ongoing use of excessive force against Black Americans has reawakened our social conscience.
At this moment in time, we must do all we can to effect real change in order to address the fears and hardships of over forty million Americans; citizens who have suffered generational biases and mistreatment based solely on the color of their skin. We must lobby for systemic reform to eliminate discrimination, racial profiling, and the unfair treatment of Black Americans.
Yes, Black Lives Matter, and we must do better.
In 1852, Frederick Douglass penned, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” In that document he wrote, ”The blessings, in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not me.” Sadly, his words remain true to this day.
Standing in unity at peaceful protests, and gathering for vigils on our Town Green are wonderful gestures of solidarity and support, but they are not enough. We must enact safeguards to end inhumane police practices, implement greater oversight and accountability to prevent prejudicial acts of violence, and bring an end to institutional racism.
We must address the lack of diversity in our school system by creating greater awareness of social injustice and racial inequalities in our programs of study. Curriculum revisions are needed to better educate our children in diversity and inclusion. And, we must strive to employ a more racially balanced faculty and work to provide opportunities for our children to interact with peer students in more diverse communities.
But, real change also begins with each of us. Often, the seeds of racism originate in the home or within peer groups during the impressionable years of our youth. We must commit to do better. We cannot remain silent when racially biased remarks are made; we must confront them. Our tolerance of this type of ignorance impedes societal progress.
Our nation must unite to end unfair treatment and acts of violence, and create a community where Black Americans have equity in society, in politics, policy, economics, education, healthcare, and in life.