Today this space is for Tyre Nichols.
Nothing that is going on around town today is as important as a young Black man brutalized and murdered by police in Memphis.
And in this space let us also bring his mother, RowVaughn Wells.
Can we stop for one moment and let her grief be our grief?
If we are white we probably can’t truly experience that grief. We do not walk around with the fear that what happened to Tyre Nichols could happen to us, or our children, or to people we love. We can be sad, and horrified, and angry - - but the visceral pain that Black Americans feel is beyond that.
White people created that fear and that pain. White people created systems that perpetuate it.
White people in Howard County argue for more and more police in schools. Black children and families know what that means.
It means nightmares that what happened to Tyre Nichols could happen to them. To their children. Can you imagine trying to learn while carrying that kind of fear?
What kind of a country are we if we allow this to happen? What kind of people are we if we don’t make this the most important thing in our lives to wrestle with and to change?
People turned out in large numbers to protest the treatment of George Floyd at the hands of police and to mourn his death. Even right here in Howard County. What have we done to keep it from happening again?
What can we do?
We must listen to the people who know, who live the pain and fear with every breath. Who grieve and mourn more often than anyone should ever have to grieve. And we must make our cause their cause. We, who like to lead, must follow their lead.
That’s the hard part, right there. We like to be the people in charge. But today, as we center Tyre Nichols and RowVaughn Wells in our thoughts, can we face the truth?
Whatever we think we are doing to make this better, it isn’t working.
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