I am speaking out against violence today, especially the nonsensical violence against police, minorities and innocent businesses and bystanders that has occurred over the last few days in our country including the killing of George Floyd.
I am very saddened by the malicious killing of George Floyd, a black man who died Memorial Day after being pinned down by a white Minnesota police officer. Thousands of peaceful protesters across our country have been heard. We are very blessed to live in a country where we have the right to publicly protest because of the 1st Amendment or free speech. This does not mean we can take revenge or inflict crime for crime. Any criminal action should be dealt with according to the law of the land.
I agree with our founding fathers as many of you, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1976.) Whether Thomas Jefferson lived this principle himself is beside the point. This quote is in one of the formative documents of our country, which logically leads to the fact that it should be an ideal that our country is based on.
Unfortunately, from the beginning of our country, some men and women have fallen short of putting the principle “Men are equal.” However, many if not most Americans are not racist. I am blessed to have many friends from different races. They go to the same schools, work at the same companies and attend the same churches that my family and I attend and support. I am going to read, learn and strive to understand this issue better.
The historical and recent injustices played out on innocent “minorities” is awful and unlawful. Justice is being served in the case of the brutal treatment of George Floyd. Second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, the officer who prosecutors say held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter. Chauvin and the other three officers at the scene have been fired. The Department of Justice is still investigating the case and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is investigating the police department (abcNews, June 3, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/US/george-floyd-protest-updates-arrests-america-approaching-10000/story?id=71038665). I hope that permanent, positive, peaceful change occurs in communities where prejudice is found. Racism has no place in America.
Unfortunately, in some locations, the protests have turned ugly. I appreciate one reporter who clarified that there are three different groups involved in many of these protests. Those who peacefully protest, those who want merchandise for free and are waiting for someone to violently throw a brick in a window so they can loot, and those who are taking advantage of the unrest to create violence against innocent police officers and citizens of all races. Of the protests that have turned violent, as of June 3rd, at least 9,300 people have been arrested across the country. This is not a sign of positive change.
Police are not our enemy. Racism is. Police should treat everyone with respect and act within the confines of the law. Those who don’t, have no place in uniform. I believe the majority of police to be fair, honest and brave. Being a police officer is dangerous, hard work. We need them. I believe that they want to help keep neighborhoods safe.
Mahatma Gandhi’s wise words, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” is great advice for each of us today. Be smart. Choose peace. As we unite against injustice and violence, let’s also forgive and love and joyfully work together, regardless of race, for the betterment of our country. Peaceful protests have brought change. Now, let’s be the change. Let’s move forward. Let’s keep the peace.
More great messages about racism and peace:
Plead for peace, for mutual respect, and for an outpouring of love for all of God’s children – Russell M. Nelson
Hope for personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice – Jeffrey R. Holland