Fifty-some years ago, as young boy in the 1960’s, I thought real change was taking place in our country.
That the discrimination and hate versus black people was coming to an end with the protests across this country – protests taking place at or near the same time as protests against the Viet Nam war.
Watching Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy getting killed in the fight for change – to bring an end to racism, I could not have imagined that in 2021 (akin to 1910 if I was looking back), I’d be thinking that nothing much had changed.
But last week when a young black man was shot dead by a white police officer when pulled over for a traffic stop, I was thinking just that. Nothing had really changed.
If you’re black in America, you have to be afraid of police officers – even though there are many good police officers. You have to be afraid that one of your children will be shot dead by a police officer when pulled over while out driving the family car.
But today I sat a bit mesmerized watching coverage of the guilty verdict for the George Floyd murder.
- There was a conviction across board, on all counts.
- Maybe the first time (at least that I remember) a white officer was convicted of murdering a black person, despite the many times we thought we saw in news coverage a black person murdered by a white officer.
- Without a smartphone, and someone telling a girl to change her setting to video from photo, capturing the murder, there is no chance we’d have had a conviction.
When President Biden, at the end of his comments this afternoon, raised his finger and said “This can be the moment of significant change,” I believed him.
It wasn’t so much believing Joe, but it was a feeling of maybe.
Maybe this conviction can be the start of real change, something that started fifty years ago.