We in Jacksonville stand with our sisters and brothers in Buffalo as we mourn with victims of the racially-motivated shooting on May 14, both living and deceased. This is yet another example of radical racial violence/terror that has persisted throughout our history and is too common today in our society. If we want to move forward into a society where liberty and justice for all truly guides us, then we cannot allow the zero-sum rhetoric that one loses when another gains what is supposed to be inalienable to all of us. When racism is given an inch of room in our policies, minds, and hearts, it has enough power to consume us.
We must teach our children, our friends, and our neighbors that justice is like air - there is more than enough to go around. When the air of justice is polluted with hatred, fear, selfishness, and devaluing the lives of others, we all suffer. But when that air is filled with acceptance, love, belonging, and a sense of community, we all breathe easier.
Let’s create the conditions that push our country to end racism so that everyone thrives. Contact people running for office to ask how their platforms explicitly address racial equity and justice. Flood your current elected officials with letters on the role they can play in addressing policies that perpetuate racism. Ask your faith leaders to create spaces for honest discussions about race. Follow up with your employer on their post-George Floyd commitments to racial equity and justice. Then ask yourself, “What have I done to be a deliberate part of the solution?”