This past week, America witnessed a murder in broad daylight perpetrated by a police officer, the very people who are meant to protect us. Protests have erupted across the country as people demand justice, equality, and an end to police brutality. They want George Floyd to be more than just another statistic to be added to the list of more than 7,500 African Americans who have been killed by the police since 2013.
The protests come on the heels of the pandemic which has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the U.S alone and has left millions jobless and facing an uncertain future. The pandemic has also affected people of color in low-income communities the most.
We know these are confusing and scary times. However, it is in these times of deep despair that there is an opportunity for growth and change.
It has taken an invisible virus to show us we are all connected, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. The launch of SpaceX last weekend has shown us that when hearts and minds come together, even the impossible is achievable.
The killing of George Floyd is a moral call to all of us that we cannot turn a blind eye any longer to the racism and injustices in our neighborhoods and cities. As young readers, you may feel helpless to do much, but there are small steps we can each take. It can begin with recognizing biases within each of us, speaking up when we see injustice, getting educated on issues, and most importantly, respecting and celebrating diversity.
We end with a few lines of a poem by John Donne, a 16th century English poet and whose words inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;....
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bells toll; it tolls for thee."
With grief, love, and hope,