Black. Lives. Matter.

Published 10:49 pm Friday, June 5, 2020

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We’ll say it unequivocally again.

Black. Lives. Matter.

You might reply, “All lives matter.” To that we say, of course they do. But all lives cannot matter until the lives of African Americans and other people of color matter just as much in this country as white lives do.

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And right now, while it should be true, it just isn’t.

The nation was reminded of that again about two weeks ago, when George Floyd died in Minnesota after a trio of police officers held him down, one with his knee on his neck, until well after he had become unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after arriving via ambulance.

It was reminded on March 13, when police in Louisville, Ky., broke down the door to the home of Breonna Taylor, a local EMT, with a no-knock warrant, supposedly as part of a drug investigation. No drugs were found in her apartment, but police shot her in her own home.

It was reminded in May, when the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 23 in Glynn County, Ga., finally came to light when a radio station posted video of the shooting. In that shooting, two or three white vigilantes in their trucks chased Arbery as he jogged, hit him with one of the trucks and then shot him.

These are only some of the most recent incidents in a country with a long, long, long history of violent injustices perpetrated against people of color by white authorities, vigilantes and mobs.

But in the past couple of weeks, just since George Floyd’s death, the tide seems to be shifting. Could it be that the horrible weight of the evidence available in Floyd’s case — the nine-minute video that clearly shows plain and simple murder of a handcuffed black man by police officers — is finally crashing down on Americans who had thus far managed to convince themselves that there is no such thing as systemic racism? That there is no such thing as white privilege? That if people of color would just not commit crimes, not resist arrest and politely do what they’re told, they wouldn’t get killed?

It’s past time to seek justice in America, not just for the privileged few, but for everybody. Skin color shouldn’t mean some people are in more danger than others on a daily basis.