After so many years of progress for LTBTQ and minorities under President Obama, these last few years have been painful. The country seems to be fracturing, first from COVID-19, and now from the death of George Floyd, with cities exploding into anger and protests, and in some cases violence. It is hard to watch for too long without turning away.
As a child I remember watching TV images of Vietnam protests and documentaries in religious school about the freeing of the concentration camps after World War II. It was hard then to make sense of the cruelty in the world. It is still hard today to see our country being torn apart and racial injustice running rampant.
Today, sitting in our suburban home, the events happing just a few miles away in Washington, D.C. seem like another world. Our neighborhood is quiet and the stores seem unaffected. I spoke to a woman earlier today who had helped care for my father during the last year of his life. In her community, a poor, black, inner city area, stores have been looted and people are unable to purchase basic goods. She was angry that mothers could not buy diapers for their babies or food for their families due to the looting and violence.
I do understand the anger in people across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out jobs and incomes, particularly affecting low income individuals. Then comes the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers. It is like a one, two punch. The tinder was ready to be lit and it was.
I see the protests in our streets as more than a moment in time. I see the culmination of the past few years where minorities saw gains made under Obama repeatedly lost. We have watched right wing hate go mainstream and a president continuously fanning the flames of discord and hatred.
The protests are a wonderful moment where people say, no more! While I do not condone the violence and destruction, I think the protests happening across the USA are an important moment of resistance and a standing up for equal justice for all.