Submitted by Jim DeBello
While the soaring SpaceX launch this weekend lifted our spirits and re-ignited our faith to achieve greatness, we are brought back to earth with the gravity of racial injustice.
The image of a black citizen cuffed face down with three officers atop and a fourth looking on is searing. We ask ourselves how could this still happen in 21st century America? We are shocked by the first officer using undue force, and are incredulous that the fourth officer stands idly by while George Floyd gasps “I cant breathe” for eight minutes.
Just when we re-start, we regress. The seeds of hatred have taken root in soil tilled by hatred and man’s inhumanity towards his fellow man.
We have watched anger escalate as our cities lockdown a second time for an entirely different reason than the pandemic. Peaceful cries for justice are drowned out by acts of random violence. We must protect the rights of all Americans and stop the looting.
Unchecked violence and destruction merely adds to injustice, distrust and hardship. Neighborhoods are scarred, vital jobs are lost and communities devastated.
Enough. As we explore new worlds in space, we must implore ours to achieve greater diversity, inclusion and social justice.
We can’t stand by. As a society, we wrestle with how to resolve persistent racism and violence. Transitory political denunciations have set a tone but not delivered a solution. While refinement of policing tactics show promise, denunciations of police are unproductive and dangerous because the vast majority of officers are heroes protecting all of us. Disrespect for the rule of law jeopardizes our democracy.
We see the problem. Now let’s focus on the solution. How can we unite to make this a moment of collective action across cultural and political boundaries?
Unlike the officer standing idly by, ‘We the People’ must act. I was heartened to see the citizens of La Mesa turn out to help clean their city from the debris of anarchists, and I was glad that the citizens of neighboring Santee called out the cruel hooded provocateurs. Even the Sheriff in Flint, Michigan, took off his riot gear and walked with the peaceful protesters in solidarity. People want their anguished voices to be heard. He diffused tension and created a conversation for change.
Just as the idle officer in Minneapolis should have acted against the excessive force of his partner, we must never again respond with a collective shrug. Solidarity of peaceful protest demonstrates the best qualities of our freedom, yet protests alone will not yield results. Each of us can contribute to the solution by listening carefully to all voices, casting our vote and remaining engaged to ensure racial equality. Inaction is not acceptable. We must resolve to stay involved.
With the success of the latest space launch, Americans should have confidence in the future and have faith that things will be better. The American spirit is resilient and overcomes
despair. We have the spirit of action. We must resolve to peacefully restore order and end racial injustice for all. Our political leadership must not be silent, distracted by the next headline or poll. We must stand for justice and Act.