I’m writing to denounce the shameful spreading of misinformation by the Harrison County Republican Party Chairman, along with some of his fellow party chairs in our state, in posting the conspiracy theory that George Floyd’s brutal murder on Memorial Day in Minneapolis was a “staged event.” There is no evidence that the senseless, unjust killing of Mr. Floyd was staged. Normally, denunciation of such an irresponsible action should, as they say, “go without saying,” but, over the past few years, divisive, hateful, and untrue things have been said and spread with such frequency that they have become almost normalized. We must never allow the spreading of lies to become accepted or normalized. It tears at the very fabric of our civil society and democracy.
I write this from the perspective of someone who not only loves America and our founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice for all more than words could ever say, but also from the perspective of someone who has volunteered more time than I could ever calculate over the past 25 years to help bring progress and unity to a community and region I love. And when people spread falsehoods and conspiracy theories—and, I believe in this case, when they do it for partisan reasons—nothing but harm and hurt can result. It’s not only harmful to the grieving family who has lost a loved one, but also to a grieving nation who, for many of us, have hearts that break every day knowing the reality that racism, a scourge that has plagued our nation’s history from its beginning, still exists. The only way we’re going be able to end systemic racism is by working together, not by stoking division. As one of our nation’s mottos says: “E Pluribus Unum” Out of Many, One. That’s a very clear directive. We must do this together. We must do this with understanding, empathetic hearts, with steadfast intentionality, and with reality-based information.
In preparing a home-made sign to carry at one of the peaceful marches in Marshall this week, I thought to myself, “What would be a helpful and healing message to share?” I knew that the word “together” would need to be included and, as I wrote the words on the sign, I was filled with a deep sense of hope that maybe this time, finally, finally, we can bring about meaningful change—along with strong policies—to address this long-standing, profound injustice. Standing on the shoulders of the brave, resolute people who have gone before and for all who continue to work for the cause of justice today, I write these words of hope: “Let’s end racism now together. Let’s end racism now forever.” As the pandemic has taught us, we are indeed all in this together and I appreciate all people of good faith who are working to make much-needed changes successful so that our beloved America can be stronger and better now and in the future.
Christina Cocek Anderson
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