Open minds, open hearts needed now
June 18, 2020
Last week, word traveled by social media that people supporting the Black Lives Matter would hold "A March of Silence" on Friday afternoon, state wide.
According to news reports, the event's purpose was to honor those lost to police brutality and institutionalized racism, with the silent part also to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
I and members of my staff were pleased to learn a group of Wahkiakum County citizens would join the statewide event. They gathered in front of the community center in Cathlamet, held signs and waved at passers by. Reporter Diana Zimmerman visited the group for a photo and story.
Unfortunately, you won't be seeing that photo or story in The Eagle. We're concerned about the safety of the demonstrators. Again, coming from social media, there were posts threatening to run them out of town; that if they caused any problems, so-and-so would do something about it; that segregation was the answer, and that people shouldn't be allowed to protest in our county.
So, we're concerned that publicizing names or printing photos could lead to harassment. And that's for exercising free speech, something guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution.
In my opinion, the legacy of slavery is a cancer that affects almost every aspect of life in the United States, and most of us don't realize the extent of that cancer.
I encourage our readers to have open minds and open hearts while considering the social unrest our country is now experiencing. My story is not your story, and our story is not their story. Listen and learn. Act to make our country a better place for all citizens.
Act with respect, not violence.