Written by Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry
BLACK LIVES MATTER! We must never forget why we are at this pivotal point in American history. There has been an injustice in America that can no longer exist and the murder of George Floyd as well as the countless others has reached a breaking point that has caused each of us to finally stop and make the statement “enough is enough”. There is no such thing as a senseless murder, you do not fight ignorance with ignorance, and you do not answer murder with murder. All lives do matter! However, the mere fact that one would say that during these unjust times would validate that Black Lives are the matter at hand for without this issue before us now, one could state that blacks are not a part of the “All” for if we were, then that statement would not be made and I, as well as so many other elected officials, corporations, sport franchises (NFL, NBA, MLB) would not be releasing official statements exclaiming YES! Black Lives do Matter and we will work to fix the injustices that have plagued this nation since slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.
I cannot be prouder of our youth. I have learned more from you in the past ten days by spending time engaging in conversations with you during these peaceful protests and I feel very confident that our future will be much brighter with you in command. I am frequently asked, “How long will they protest?” The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 381 days and in that time, African Americans walked to work, the grocery store, doctors’ appointments, school etc. until justice prevailed. George Floyd had his airway compromised (he was choked) for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which lead to his death. Justice does not have a timeline, but I would suspect that if everyone raised their voice just a little, and added to the solution, we could find the exit strategy. Make no mistake, our county is hurting, our state is hurting, our nation is hurting, the World is hurting! We must channel that energy away from hate, it is hate that got us here and through your love, passion and commitment, we are very hopeful to get out of here and never return. I was born into the Civil Rights Movement of 1968 and exactly 59 days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine the pain in my heart when I must spend my 52nd birthday in the exact same protest. We cannot have another Groundhog Day, meaning we cannot repeat the actions of the protests of the 60’s and expect a different outcome today. That is why I believe it is imperative that the children of our parents who protected us through those terrible days of old, be there to guide this generation of young people who will finish what our parents started. We know what a peaceful protest looks like, we know what pent-up rage looks like just before it explodes into chaos, and I believe it is our job, our duty to monitor, guide and assist where needed, this movement to its final destination called Justice for All.
I stand with those who speak out against hate, who speak out against inequality, who speak out against injustices and who speak out against oppression. My military brothers and sisters will agree with me when I say that silence is compliance. It is ok to not know what it feels like to be a target when you jog through a white neighborhood, or to cringe when a Police Car is behind you in traffic, or too literally have panic attacks when your adult children leave the home to be young adults and have fun with their friends. What you can do is listen, ask simple questions and be there to understand. It is only then will we begin the process of change, and in the words of Sam Cooke, “A Change is Coming”.