As I watch the videos of police violence perpetrated on innocent people of color all over America, it brings back images I saw as a child growing up in one of America’s many ghettos, Spanish Harlem in New York City. As a poor immigrant during the crack epidemic, all I could do was try to stay safe, as I saw many of my classmates and neighborhood basketball cronies racially profiled, harassed and beaten, and the cops who did so walk around like the neighborhood bullies who were untouchable, violent and always with a chip on their shoulder.
The images like the one of George Floyd being killed are now captured on people’s cell phones, and can no longer be brushed under the rug, as they were for so many decades in America because their existence can no longer be denied, covered up or refuted. I support all those Americans who protest peacefully and voice their outrage over a country whose systemic racism endures 4 centuries after its disgraceful genesis, and I send a prayer out to George Floyd and all the past, present and future victims of police brutality and racism, including many of my brothers who I grew up with. Please make your voice heard and show them that you are better and more dignified than they are by following in the steps of the civil rights movement, of Gandhi and MLK and all those whom we so respect and admire. By exercising free speech and being an example of nonviolent protest, we can show that none of us deserve to be injured or killed by the government which purportedly exists to protect our rights.