From: Gerald Long
Local critics of the effort to start a chapter of the organization known as Black Lives Matter appear to lack awareness of both American history and contemporary events. Historically, the overwhelming majority of lynchings in this country have targeted African American males. Some of the most striking instances of unjust court rulings have also involved African Americans. History has proven that despite their convictions, the Scottsboro Boys, in the 1930s, were innocent. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was equally innocent. On the other hand, in typical fashion, the two white men who murdered Emmett Till in the 1950s were unjustly exonerated by an all-white jury in Mississippi.
These, and so many other examples, show that all too often this society has not valued black lives to the same extent that the lives of the majority have been valued. Were it otherwise the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment would never have happened.
Race relations are certainly better now than was the case in the 1930s or the 1950s. However, anyone who watches the news objectively knows that we have seen far too many African Americans killed as the result of routine traffic stops. As I see it, Black Lives Matter is not declaring that only the lives of African Americans matter, the group simply wants black lives to be respected equally with the lives of all other racial and ethnic groups. Simply stated, black lives matter because all lives matter.
Finally, our president has spoken eloquently and often about the need to simultaneously respect the members of the law enforcement profession in this country and the rights of all citizens. We should follow his example.