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Coronavirus isn’t the only virus

To the editor:

In the beginning, we thought it was the coronavirus we were fighting against to stay alive. The world was at standstill, sports were canceled, and the everyday life we knew was shutting down around us.

The world was quiet for once, and everyone’s undivided attention was turned to the news as it unfolded on May 25, 2020, of an unarmed black man that was killed by the police during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There were four police officers involved in his senseless murder. The former officer’s name is Derek Chauvin; he had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which led to his death. The entire arrest was caught on camera by people of the community that were standing nearby, and the former officers still did not stop knowing they were being recorded, and while Mr. Floyd was begging for his life by stating “I can’t breathe” multiple times.

That day, it became apparent that we are not only fighting a respiratory virus, but another virus called racism. Due to the coronavirus, the entire world was outraged behind his death and enticed protests in all 50 states and more than 12 countries. We must stand up for what is right in a time where we have the attention and platform to get the message of “Justice for all” across to a system that was not designed to protect people of color. We must obey laws that were set up to hinder us, not protect us from the very ones to protect and serve our communities.

In a time like this, a leader with words of encouragement is direly needed to unite the country and not tear it apart from the head down. The time for change is now. For many years, we have been reminded that we are not that far from slavery by the Confederate flags and statues around the country that still stand to this day. With our voices being heard, they are being taken down slowly and quietly, but they are not going unnoticed by the white supremacist groups who recognize those monuments as history.

As black people, we are tired of being unheard, murdered because of the color of our skin. We are humans, we have rights, and we deserve justice like everyone else in the justice system. This November, we must vote for change to ensure we keep going in the right direction of getting the justice we demand, not only protest and march. As a race, we must remain united to get the respect we deserve as citizens, business owners, scientists, politicians and lawmakers of our communities to enforce the change. It starts with us, and it ends with us. We are our future.

Kristina Pope

Suffolk