I am writing in response to Legislator Andrew Dennison’s recent letter published in The Citizen on June 25, 2020. First and foremost, coming from the top perch of the privilege totem pole, it is fairly easy for you to vilify and at the same time minimize the Black Lives Matter movement.
Before you can even begin to have any credibility as it relates to BLM, you must address more than police violence. Anyone paying attention to this movement knows that criminal justice reform is what brought about these protests initially, but you must also recognize that when we talk about “black lives” we are talking about black lives and livelihoods.
One statistic from one year ago comes nowhere near close enough to capture the full breadth of the systemic oppression that black and brown people have experienced for centuries. You must also speak about de-facto segregation of cities, higher per-capita incarceration rates, income inequality, voter suppression, and a litany of other issues.
Did you know that African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites per capita, that African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates but African Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites, and that white families on average have a net worth of more than ten times that of black families?
If you truly cared about learning from our past, you would learn about the forces and factors surrounding these disturbing statistics. Instead, you opted to use the same refrains used to gin up fear in the white community for centuries. Nobody, not one person says Black Lives Matter but everybody else doesn’t. To suggest that Black Lives Matter is in some way minimizing others is simply ludicrous and another attempt to remove the teeth from their very legitimate arguments.
You asked where the other “elected officials” were. Right here. We are working to educate, build communities, and make change. We are not liberal or conservative. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are not white or black. We are working to bring communities together and not pull them apart.
I encourage you to really do the research. Get out and talk to the black community. Engage with others that have different views and truly listen. If you are looking to open yourself up and step out of your comfort zone, you can contact me at Throop’s Town Hall.
Ridley is Throop town supervisor
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