Come and join a quiet conversation

To the editor:

Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter. You can and should care about both.

I am part of the group that stands on the square or the public restrooms weekly with Black Lives Matter and other signs advocating for justice reforms. The Tri-State Team for Unity and Justice. We are often asked if we believe only black lives matter and berated on why we don’t believe all lives matter. We do believe all lives matter. That is without question.

But we also believe black lives in this country are not valued on the same level as white lives. Estimates show that black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement while being twice as likely as white people to be unarmed.

I have heard all the talking points about black on black crime and not breaking the law. When pressed, one counter protester told me that very thing. They shouldn’t break the law. I asked her if she truly believed that if you break the law your life does not matter. She was a bit flummoxed as she searched for a way to explain her point. Who of us can say we have never broken the law? Should we rate our crimes on a scale to see how much a life is worth?

I have been called a commie and a domestic terrorist. I am neither. I am as patriotic as any other that stands on the square. While they think America is great, I think America can do better. I love this country and only wish to see its full potential realized for all of its citizens. Standing on the square and taking the abuse is testament to that.

I also do not stand on the square to endorse any politician. This issue transcends politics and parties. We need to see past Democrat and Republican to tackle this issue. Police in this country are underpaid and expected to wear many mantles. Police officers should not be asked to be social workers and psychologists. They should not be dealing with homelessness, drug abuse and mental illness.

Believing in police reform should not seem like a radical idea. Police reforms could include body worn cameras, de-escalation training, implicit bias training, early intervention systems, banning of chokeholds, and civilian oversight.

Police unions are a great place to start those reforms. Bad cops should not be protected by police unions. Records should follow an officer, not be swept under the rug.

I want people to know when I stand on the square I am not un-American. I am not anti-police. I am not a communist. I am not a domestic terrorist. I just want to see social and economic justice for every American. Come up to the square and let’s have a conversation. I am willing to sit down and have a quiet constructive conversation. Anyone in our group will. Come and join us and let’s talk.

Susan Catterall

Hamilton

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