By John Hodge, PHADA President
The image of a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee down on the neck of a handcuffed African American man, George Floyd, while three other officers stand by is so repulsive that millions of us cannot get it out of our minds. In the wake of this outrage, Americans and people throughout the world are experiencing shock, grief, and anger. It is therefore no wonder why so many people are protesting to try and end the racial injustice that persists in our great but flawed nation.
We have witnessed previous demonstrations that failed to remain at the top of America’s priority list. It appears there is a real possibility that, this time, things finally might be ripe for change. Let us hope so but remember that actions speak louder than words. We must remain vigilant, maintaining a determination to make a difference. Systemic change never comes easy and we often feel we have no power to affect change. But we do. We each possess the ability to change ourselves and so I commit myself to examine how I treat people of color and strive to be a better person. I know so many of you feel the same way.
In our private lives and through the work we do every day in our civic-oriented positions, we can help effectuate needed changes in peaceful and meaningful ways. Let us all pledge to fight ignorance and racial hostility that still exists in elements of our society, culture, and laws.
I am hopeful we can ultimately live up to the ideals of a great 19th century American born into slavery, Frederick Douglass, who said, “in a composite nation like ours, as before the law, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny.”