The death of George Floyd is yet another stark reminder that the miracle that is America is still a work in progress. And we have a lot of work to do. The effort to eradicate racism has spanned generations and yet the disease persists, leaving a trail of pain and loss in its wake.
It is easy to have a false sense of reality when we assess the state of racism in America. So many of our cultural, artistic and athletic heroes are African American. It becomes easy to rest on our laurels and assume all is well. Yet this reality is illusory. When we read stories about how some African American parents feel compelled to tell their children how to act around law enforcement so that they don’t invite trouble, that is a problem. When we see repeated incidents of violence toward African Americans by our police, it should be a clarion call that something is deeply wrong.
We also should not pretend that the scourge of racism in America is limited to police brutality alone. Racism in America is pervasive. Sometimes it shows itself in a look, a remark or a reaction. Nonetheless, it is there. It is in the air we breath. It is palpable not only among our African American communities, but among all minority groups. As Rep Harry Arora recently
wrote, “This is a systemic problem and not a one-off issue. As an Asian-American leader, I feel the pain and fear personally.”
There is clear need for comprehensive, nationwide reviews of police protocol and training. Our law enforcement community must act promptly if one of their own displays a pattern of unacceptable behavior. Institutional reform is needed.
As citizens, we must do our part by speaking up when we encounter racism, wherever we encounter it, whatever its form. Americans young and old have protested peacefully to call their country to action. We can’t be tone deaf to their message. There is simply no place for racism in our society.
Greenwich Republicans will continue to reach out to all corners of our community. First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Lauren Rabin are constantly listening to the concerns of all of our constituents. Soon, our diverse group of candidates will be doing the same. We realize that crises can offer great opportunities for solutions. In order to seize the moment we must be bold.
Now is the time for our leaders to rise with a message of compassion and unity, not one of combativeness and fear. As Greenwich Republicans, we stand, united against those who violate the civil rights and freedom of any person, regardless of their race, creed or orientation. The Greenwich Republican Party believes that in America, every citizen is deserving of the rights endowed to them in our Constitution, and that no citizen is above the law.
Though we may be living in turbulent times, the trend of history should give us hope that the march toward fair and equal treatment for all Americans will continue to move forward, not backward. The American Experiment has been fraught with obstacles and challenges. We always overcome them, and we shall overcome this. As First Selectmen Camillo recently said, “Positive change comes from learning, listening and leading. By listening, we learn. By learning, we can lead.”
We are a nation that fought a devastating Civil War in order to secure an end to slavery. Yet it took one hundred years for Civil Rights legislation to enshrine the basic rights of human dignity to black Americans. Progress since the 1960’s has been slow, but steady. We must do all we can, both collectively and as individuals, to ensure it carries on into the future so that one day we can with confidence, discard the labels of “black” and “white” and call ourselves simply Americans.