By Mia Garza McCord, President. June 2, 2020
Americans are hurting. Job loss, 100,000 Americans lost to COVID-19, businesses shuttering, and now the glaring truth that inequity in America is very real. It is ok to be angry, frustrated, fearful, and sad. It is ok to support the protesters calling for justice in the gruesome and completely avoidable death of George Floyd, while at the same time, detest the rioting, looting, and absolute disregard for personal property.
Racism exists. I have been subject to racism and discrimination. I have been noticeably followed and watched in department stores, deemed not good enough because I am Hispanic, laughed at for my accent, and told to “go back to where I come from.” It stings-- every single time it happens, it stings a little more.
I worry. My children are part Hispanic and part White. My son looks like my husband while my daughter looks like me. Sure, things have changed, and our inter-ethnic/racial marriage is not looked down upon like in past-times. Additionally, there is no doubt my children will never experience the fear and level of discrimination of Black children in America. But, as a mom, I still worry. We have taught our children that we are all equal-- that each person is different and special, made with a purpose and for a purpose, just as God intended. But I am not naïve to the fact that not all parents teach their children this basic lesson in kindness and inclusion.
My heart is sad. My heart hurts for the family of George Floyd and all the families who have experienced similar horrific incidents. It pains me to know that the families of law enforcement officers are scared they will not see their loved one alive again when the walk out the door. My heart is heavy for the peace officers who have dedicated their life to serving and protecting all citizens, regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, who are now being lumped in with the officers who committed this heinous crime. The community trust they have slowly built, torn down by unnecessary acts of force.
I have hope. Through all of this, I have hope. I see the good in people. I see the pain in the peaceful protestors eyes whose cause is being hijacked by extremist groups with devious intentions. I see the hurt in the officers positioned to protect the protestors, who want each one of those protestors to believe that they are there to serve them-- protect them. This gives me hope. The small acts of kindness witnessed between peace officers and protestors over the weekend, gives me so much hope for the future. Perhaps the trust can be rebuilt.
I believe in Americans. We will do the next right thing, whatever that might be. We are a beautiful, diverse nation of people. We believe in helping our neighbors when they are down, as is evidenced time and time again during crisis. As I sit in my downtown office at this very moment, there is a group of protestors cleaning up the graffiti left behind by those slandering their cause. As Americans we believe in freedom—freedom to express ourselves peacefully, to live, to own property, to work, to love, to dissent. I believe proud Americans will come through for their fellow Americans in this time of mourning, anger, sadness, and frustration.
Our son wants to be a police officer when he grows up. He wants to “protect people and get the bad guys.” Our son wants to serve his community. Our son loves unconditionally and has shown us time and again that the world is a beautiful, kind, and hopeful place.
So, let us mourn together. Let us be angry together. Let us protect each other from those with malintent. And, let us find a solution together. It starts with each of us individually. What we teach the next generation will have a lasting impact. How we treat others is noticed. We can move forward together and create the world of beauty, kindness, and hope that my son sees.