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Unity is Our Most Powerful Weapon

Last updated on August 17, 2020

(Photo Credit: Johnny Huu Nguyen)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

UNITED STATES – In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, riots have erupted across the nation. There has been looting in the depths of Minneapolis, the wide streets of New York City, the stores in Los Angeles, and the parks of Philadelphia.

“In more than 20 cities, thieves smashed their way into businesses and ran off with as much as they could carry. This included boxes of sneakers, armloads of clothes and cellphones, TVs and other electronics,” reports the Associated Press.

Small business owners have also been negatively impacted by these riots. 

The Associated Press states, “Across the state, devastated shop owners cleaned up shattered glass, assessed the damage and boarded up windows while firefighters mopped up hot spots from lingering fires.”

Politicians released various statements on the matter. 

“The destruction was widely condemned by the president, local elected officials and many members of the African American community” reports USA Today.  

VP Biden stated:

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.”

President Trump tweeted

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.”

As the protests escalated, the police were ordered to use non-lethal methods to disperse the crowd. 

The Associated Press reports, “Police, state troopers and National Guard members broke up protests, firing tear gas and rubber bullets to clear streets outside a police precinct and elsewhere.”

In Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newson responded to the protests by sending 500 to 700 members of the National Guard.

The Associated Press writes, “Crowds of demonstrators have torched police cars, vandalized and burglarized stores and clashed with lines of officers. Hundreds of people have been arrested since Friday night.” 

Washington DC and Philadelphia have also had hundreds of protesters vandalizing property.

“In Philadelphia, protesters vandalized and attempted to topple and set fire to a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo,” CBS News stated. “Protesters once again gathered outside the White House, where fires were set and fireworks ignited before the crowd dispersed.”

This article will update as more developments come in.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for protesting. When handcuffs clicked around his wrist, he did not antagonize the police officer or resist arrest. He did not flip off the arresting officer, call him names, or threaten his life. He went with him peacefully to his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Despite his emotions or passion, MLK did not lash out in rage or contempt. Instead, he wrote the letter from the Birmingham jail. The letter is considered one of the most critical documents in the civil rights movement because it is a classic work of protest literature. The words he scribed on that paper was far more impactful than the might of a punch. 

“I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birmingham Jail letter

Five years later, MLK was tragically assassinated. Even though he has been dead for over fifty years, the ideas he believed, the moral clauses he preached, and the dream he described still hold tremendous relevance in modern society. 

The protests that consist of peaceful marching are commendable. When hundreds link arms and sing songs together, they show that their message can be achieved through the strength of the community. By speaking to thousands of people, they show the power of their words is far greater than the mediocrity of violence. When MLK professed that he had a dream, the idea of unification among races entered the minds of millions. 

The reason he is regarded as one of the greatest leaders in history is that he was able to revert the status quo without resorting to impulsivity or violence.

Today, the protests that are flattening communities and decimating cities are not justified. Inciting violence, obstructing property, and committing arson are immoral and hurts the credibility of a movement. Protesting with the intent of promoting justice by burning down innocent people’s businesses is hypocritical.

While it is true that more people will notice a flaming building than a speech, it does not warrant or give justification for violence. The people whose livelihood is being burnt to ashes by these protesters have not contributed to police brutality or racism. 

If you wish for a nation that understands the complexities of your movement, then I can assure you, vandalizing and decimating property will only hurt your cause. 

To be clear, I acknowledge racism is a significant problem within our country. We all can come to the agreement that the four police officers should be held accountable for how they treated George Floyd. We can also agree that we should root out the police officers who are racist and morally abhorrent. However, that is achieved through the expansion of charity projects, peaceful protests, and a greater emphasis on the proclamation of unity. 

To the police officers tasked with addressing the riots, you must be responsible. I understand the police officers in Minneapolis that arrested Floyd are not representative of all officers. Show this country that you use your gun for the protection of citizens and not the obstruction of justice. Honor the oath that you spoke when you became a law enforcement officer. Prove to the rest of the world that you are a person of honor that respects the rule of law and the sanctity of life. 

Most importantly, you have an obligation to be more ethically upstanding than the people you protect. If a protester antagonizes you or attempts to anger you, it is imperative that you be the bigger person and not suppress them with violence. The gun that rests in your holster and the badge pinned on your uniform gives you power, and with that power, you have an obligation to use it for the benefit of humanity. 

We must do everything in our power to fight against racism and police brutality. That fight begins with the acknowledgment that unity is our most powerful weapon. We must put our differences aside and fight against people willing to tear us apart. In this fight against immorality, we must remember that it not a fight for justice if we punish the innocent.

Therefore, I implore you. Fight for the men and women who have unjustly fallen. Fight for the liberation of the restrained. Fight for a nation that judges people based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Fight for the condemnation of the officers who abuse their power with malicious or racist intent. Fight for a unified nation.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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