Police shootings and Black Lives Matter
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
We are awaiting the deliberations of the state Board of Elections before we can know how the Wake County Commissioners races and school board races will be resolved. We hope the legislature won’t feel compelled to return to draw the new maps in person, perhaps learning from the internal revolt over proposed changes to Asheville’s districts. As ever the chaotic impact of bad legislation and the court rejection of the maps reminds us of the need for non-partisan redistricting come 2020. We must continue to push for this process whomever has control of the legislature.
Meanwhile President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton campaigned together for the first time in Charlotte. I think we can expect many more visits before November as North Carolina is regarded as ‘in play’ and a viable swing state.
Finally we must consider the events in Baton Rouge, St Paul and Dallas. We live in frightening and unsettling times but our fear should encourage us to think about how we ourselves can change in order to bring about wider change. One must only consider the huge shift in opinions towards LGBTQ marriage to see that transformations can happen within our lifetimes, because we believe they must.
A change in the way we live with our fellow citizens is imperative. Those who protect us should protect us all, equally and if they know what we expect, it will happen. No one should be driving a car home from the grocery store and end up bleeding to death from 4 gunshot wounds inflicted by a police officer. But neither should police working a peaceful protest and vigil be shot and killed by a sniper. Whether this is about hate, fear, prejudice, ignorance or the result of political rhetoric I believe we do need to recognize our own role.
White privilege is, by definition, something most of us take for granted. Do we acknowledge its power? Can we move beyond guilt to standing openly for what needs to be said? At the micro-level, will we face our neighbor who disparages the Hispanic yardman or African-American co-worker as lazy or illegal? We must have these hard conversations and take steps to engage beyond our comfort levels so that our generation’s legacy is one of healing and redemption and not of polarization and fear.