I have been monitoring the murder of Freddie Gray and I was glad to see that the protests were peaceful, until yesterday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Violence is the language of the unheard.”
I want to share that I have personally marched and picketed up to 1995, when my husband died. It was a very difficult time for me, after his loss, and I could no longer use my energy as I once did. While protesting in Harrisburg, PA; Washington, DC; Cleveland, OH; and Erie, PA, as it happened, the marches and protests I participated in were peaceful.
As my readers know, I am a pacifist. I believe in Peace, not war. What does war get us? Nothing.
I had a conversation last night with a very dear friend, and we were discussing Freddie Gray’s murder, and the protests that were beginning, at that time, to turn violent. He made me realize that what Martin Luther King, Jr. said back in the 60’s, continues to be true: If people are not heard; if their words and peaceful protests are not met with understanding and action, with changes for the betterment of all peoples, then there will be violence, there will be bloodshed.
This has been a very difficult time for me, because I do not believe in violence; and yet, I know that if people continue to go unheard, unheeded and undervalued by their city governments, state governments, federal government, there will be repercussions.
My friend is starting a list — he has found, so far, at least 1 young man has been killed by police everyday in the past year. Not just black men, but hispanic men, asian men, white men; muslim men, Christian men, Jewish men. Men from all races, religions and creeds. It surprised and shocked me that so many young men are dying at the hands of our own police, here in the United States.
It is difficult to comprehend that the police have gotten to a place where they feel they have the right to take a life because they run away, or because they mouth off. It has been a while since the police have been seen in such a bad light, but the time is here again, when police departments across the nation are losing the confidence of the citizens whom they are supposed to “serve and protect”.
My concept of “serve and protect” is to be able to maturely come to a valid assessment of a situation and to react to that situation with the best of your ability for what is within the law and what is in the best interests of the community.
I live in a suburb of Cleveland, OH, as many of you know, and a short time ago, we had a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was playing in a park. Someone called in a 911 call to say that there was someone acting suspiciously in the park. A police cruiser was sent to the scene and the two officers killed this child because he was playing with a toy gun.
My heart breaks for this child and his family. His death is something that they will never recover from, completely.
The arrival of the police and the fatal shots were videoed by a by-stander, and so much was found wrong with the behavior of the police officers, that even in my idealism, I can find no excuse for such terrible behavior. They shot Tamir within 12 seconds of arriving on the scene. There was no discussion, no evaluation, no attempt to diffuse the situation. There was only immediate, permanent death.
In Baltimore, the protests have become violent and unfortunately no one listened to the people during the peaceful protests which occurred first. I read a quote once that it takes war to bring about change.
I understand why this was said, but I have to believe that if we just listen to what people are saying, to their honest, peaceful words for peace and change, we can solve this together with all Americans equally voicing their opinions.
Unheard people will resort to violence
If the unheard voices do not become heard, we could end up in a revolution within our shores, or another civil war; not state against state, not north against south, but the poor against the privileged, and the disenfranchised against those with power.
I have 9 grandchildren. I do not want them to have to live through a civil war, or a revolution.
Right now, the majority of the protesters are black and they are protesting the unnecessary death of Freddie Gray.
If police tactics and brutality do not end, there will be protests among every racial, religious and other disenfranchised group in America. This is never going to go away without Justice; police officers must be held accountable and responsible for their bad choices, and for the murder of people they are supposed to protect.
I want to say how badly I feel for all the young lives which have been taken for no good reason. I want to say the police are brutalizing American citizens and should be punished for their crimes against the citizens of the United States.
In general, I believe that the police will be given the amount of respect that they give to the people they are attempting to arrest, but even if they are not, it is not right to kill those people.
My message, therefore, to community leaders across this country — to police commissioners and their officers — is to Stop Killing Young People.
If we forget the importance and sacredness of life, then we will become the barbarians that human beings once were.
Black Lives Matter.
Hispanic Lives Matter.
Asian Lives Matter.
Native American Lives Matter.
European Lives Matter.
Middle-Eastern Lives Matter.
Muslim Lives Matter.
Christian Lives Matter.
Jewish Lives Matter.
LGBT Lives Matter.
Straight Lives Matter.
Criminal’s Lives Matter.
Police’s Lives Matter.
ALL LIVES MATTER.
We need to start acting like it.