LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We no longer can be blind to systemic racism

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We no longer can be blind to systemic racism

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Do we think COVID-19 is no longer a threat?

To the editor:

To the Martinsville City Council: Please explain to me why the two gentleman in photos in this article, who are handing out the check to the individual who is wearing a mask in the photo op, are not wearing masks and gloves (“WATCH NOW: Martinsville, Henry County businesses flocking to apply for new local grant opportunities,” June 18). I made mention of this in my letter to the editor published on June 20.

Last but not least, I wonder if we as a community believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer an issue for us.

HENRY STEUNEBRINK

Martinsville

We must set good examples — including the president

To the editor:

We have a crazy world out here now, with the virus, all the riots and the killings of Black men! Please, please, white or Black people, teach all the young children coming up not to run from a policeman.

Our President Trump needs to be setting an example for everyone. I’ve never seen him with a mask on. This is very wrong. The young people need to see him as someone to look up to. What is wrong with him? We have a bad virus going around. It will never end if we don’t come up with medicine for it.

If President Trump would only make his announcements wearing a mask and urging social distancing, he could help save thousands of people. He needs to care more about other people.

I was brought up to treat everyone the same, white or Black, color does not matter. It’s how another person treats you. Let’s all pray that our world will get better.

BETTY T. GORDON

Martinsville

We no longer can be blind to systemic racism

To the editor:

All lives matter. But Black lives seem to matter less than others. Our nation’s history tells that story: 200 years of kidnapping Africans to sell them as slaves on Southern plantations; dissolving a Union and sacrificing a generation of youth to preserve that practice; then Jim Crowe, the KKK, white mobs taking over the city government of Wilmington , N.C., because blacks were elected to office and white mobs killing Blacks and burning their homes and businesses in Tulsa, Okla.

It’s a long painful story. And, we now know that violence begets violence. This cycle must end. Removing officers from the ranks with proclivities for excessive force against people of color seems a small, but necessary, step.

Television exposed us in the ‘60s to officers’ loosing dogs, aiming fire hoses and swinging billy sticks against peaceful protesters. And now all of us are eyewitnesses, many times over, to the unnecessary killing of unarmed Black men by white officers.

I’m a white male senior citizen. I’ve never thought of myself as a racist. Perhaps that’s been my excuse for avoiding the issue of “systemic racism.” It is real, and my continued silence is no longer tolerable to me.

“Amazing Grace” was written in 1772 by John Newton, a slave trader, weighed down with what he had done. I’m feeling some weight, too. Part of the first verse calls out: “I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.”

FRED SMITH

Martinsville

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