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Yes and

Yes, America is burning, and it has always been burning.

And then, in the middle of a pandemic and a financial crisis, with millions of people suddenly out of work and unable to so much as greet each other for fear of contracting a deadly illness, a Minneapolis Police Officer called Derek Chauvin holds his knee down on George Floyd's neck until he becomes unresponsive, and then continues to hold it there for another two minutes and fifty-three seconds.

And this event that rips a man away from his community and the people who love him is just the latest in a long series of killings of black men and boys by police across the country.

And these killings are just another part of the systemic, generational horror that black families have had to endure since before the inception of this country.

And it is no surprise, given the atrocities and indignities faced by them and their ancestors, long lines of families and children, people with hopes and dreams with their necks held down by countless knees, that people have had enough.

And it is no surprise that they march, and that they protest, and that they rise up.

And it is no surprise that our institutions burn, because if this was you, and your history, and your oppression, wouldn't you want to burn it down too?

And it is no surprise, too, that the white supremacists, dressed in Hawaiian shirts that betray their lack of reverence for this horror, march too, and incite violence, seeking to spark a second civil war in order to reassert their own generational power.

And it should not be a surprise, though it might surprise some who have not been watching carefully, that the police drove SUVs into crowds of people, pepper sprayed the elderly in the face, and arrested and shot at journalists who were reporting the violence to their fellow citizens.

And it is no surprise, finally, that the President of the United States, who is sworn to uphold his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, nonetheless, in the midst of all this, quotes word for word a famous call to violence from a racist police chief from the 1960s.

And we - none of us - can avoid making a choice. We can look away and do nothing, or we can help to overcome them and help this country to, for the first time, fully realize its promise.

And the people who look away are in effect supporting the white supremacists and the perpetuators of these horrors, and are one with them.

And the people who help will never be able to help enough, but if they listen, and if they lend their privilege and resources in support of the preservation of black lives, and they let black communities lead, it will be something.

And America will still be burning, but perhaps, over time, if we put value and sweat into building inclusion and equality, it will burn a little less.


If you're wondering what to do, here is an open source list of bail funds to donate to.