In the three months since we have been stretched to the limit of our individual strength to come to understand a common threat in COVID-19, each of us have become selfless to contribute to the solution. We have witnessed our world shrink under human-centered cooperation. The shared threat and equal risk of the Coronavirus in our communities required an all inclusive effort to defeat an invisible enemy. Those of us healthy and strong continue to accept the responsibility to socially distance and cover our faces to reduce harm to those of us more susceptible to infection.
However, the impact of COVID-19 is not the only show of mortality in our country in recent news, and it is unfortunate. An effort of community and unification is also going to be required to support and bring to completion the mission of Black Lives Matter.
Stop me if it’s not my place. Or stop reading, as it is already written.
But 2020 has proven to be a complicated and ugly year for human health and welfare across the globe. We already made history, and now risk to repeat the worst in history. Please do not allow 2020 to become a time for socio-economic dividers, and racism.
Two weeks ago, George Floyd was easily apprehended and detained by two officers new to the Minneapolis police, after a retailer complained that Floyd had passed a fake $20 bill for cigarettes. Moments later senior officers arrived to join the scene and complete the arrest, and did so with a vulgar display of power. The senior most officer, Derek Chauvin, demonstrated to his officer trainee how to kill a restrained, unarmed Black man. This moment, which was fully captured on video, was so shameful for America that our nation caught fire.
In March, while many Americans were focused on media regarding COVID-19—the home of healthcare worker Breonna Taylor was invaded by police, she was awakened abruptly and in the invasion, she was shot eight times and killed. She was black. Unarmed. And the reason for police presence is still unclear.
I make my best effort to make this statement.
There is enhanced risk for Black community members across America, and in the process of law enforcement, presences of authority and regulation, this risk is persistent and systematic. When responsible parties are not held accountable, this is an atrocity against fellow Americans. When exceptions and consideration are not made in policy for these challenges, and lethal force is used in ignorant and irrevocable spite to a request for fairness, breath, and life—its murder.
These lethal police interactions with Black community members are so frequent, and wide-spread in our nation that it is categorically impossible to understand why, and how they occur repeatedly—and unforgivable that they recur without justice.
In this year, where so much has been unprecedented and unexpected, apparently anything can happen. The challenges we face are irrelevant. The outcome will be based on our own creativity, commitment and community.
Make something of this time, and go with the momentum. Make someone feel safe. Make them appreciated. Make them feel special. But take a moment to make the statement that Black lives matter. Please do not continue to let support for the movement be overdue—Black Lives Matter.
The Salem chapter of the APA supports a diverse and benevolent community of students, educators and administrators. We will turn our attention at any time to those most in need.
Stay safe, and stay strong in this year,
Mike, Chapter President, APA Salem State