WE MUST NOT STOP NOW
Roll call. In the tradition of the struggles for justice in Latin America:
All the unnamed.….……Presente
All the unknown ……….Presente
They are present. Not only in our collective memory but in our collective consciousness. Their deaths at the hands of the police serve as the fuel that feeds the massive mobilization of thousands across the United States, and most of the world, against centuries of discrimination, injustice and violence, all fueled by racism, against Black people and other people of color. Enough is Enough. Black Lives Matter. This must stop. There is no need to recall the manner and circumstances of these deaths. We all know how callous, unnecessary and inhumane they were. Police acted with impunity, secure in the knowledge that they would not be held accountable. WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!
The widespread and sustained peaceful protests for changes in policies and laws to hold police, departments and individuals, accountable is the result of centuries of systemic racism in the United States. For too long, those responsible for enforcing the law violated the very laws they swore to uphold. We have seen and heard thousands of white citizens join in the protests and demonstrations. We have seen and heard the leaders of many corporations support the call for change. We have seen the call for change even among political leaders and some in the ranks of the police themselves. But will things actually change? Will we allow things to return to the status quo when the protests and demonstrations subside, as they have in the past? WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!
Even if we are successful in changing policies and practices to hold police accountable, this is not enough. The embedded systems and practices of racial discrimination and exploitation that result in disparities in income and wealth, education, health, and other measures of personal and community well-being must be changed to assure equal rights and opportunity for all. WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!.
Will white people who were marching and demanding change support equality of educational opportunity for all children, including quality schools in communities of color? Will the leaders of industry and commerce who issued statements supporting change commit to eliminating discrimination in hiring and paying a living wage? Will political leaders who remained silent commit to supporting legislation to end discrimination and do what is right, regardless of the personal consequences? WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!
Despite the high level of participation in the protests resulting in some progress reforming police practices, the best way to ensure that systemic racism is defeated is to ensure that policy makers and governance systems are committed to upholding these values. This means that voting and holding policy makers accountable are essential acts to reinforce the act of demonstrating and marching. Will the thousands who marched in protest make the effort to register and vote despite the attempts to make this difficult in many places? WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!
For almost eight decades, Agricultural Missions, Inc. has supported peoples movements in the United States and around the world in their struggles for peace and justice. This phase of the struggle for justice in the United States demands that WE MUST NOT STOP NOW!