Bill’s Saturday Musings and Observations: American Protest Unity

Good Saturday to you, everyone!

Life wins are hard to find at times when the things going on around you all seem so negative.

Take the recent decisions by grand juries in St. Louis, Missouri and Staten Island, New York. Their “no bill” decisions – that is, decisions not to file any homicide charges against white police officers who killed two African-American men, despite evidence to the contrary – were just two of many such outcomes in similar cases in the U.S. over the past decades. However, these decisions sparked protests across the country.

The “win” here, to me, is the unity and diversity of the protesters who marched in St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento and Cleveland, Ohio (where a 12-year-old with a toy gun was shot to death without warning by a Cleveland cop) to say “Black lives matter!” and “Justice for everyone!” I was proud to watch these folks come together peacefully in the most recent protests and stand up for what is right. They were young and old, of every race and sex, men women and children, all ages. This was a Life Win for everyone, even those who don’t know it yet.

I was even prouder to learn that my niece, Jena, a student at U.C. Berkeley, was among the protesters. (She’s the one in pink hat, lower left corner of the photo below). She and the others she joined are proof that the “millennials” are NOT a generation of young people who just sit around thinking about themselves. Jena adds to the heritage of civil rights protesters in our blended family. My mother participated in sit-ins at one of the major banks in St. Louis in the 1960s to protest their discriminatory policies toward Black customers. My Uncle Jeff was a civil rights attorney in New York. My wife’s Uncle Mike ­– an ex-Marine who lost a leg in World War II – was one of many Caucasians to join the March on Washington with Martin Luther King in 1963.

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No Justice, No Peace: Black students rally in solidarity. D. Hayat/Senior Staff By Daily Cal Photo Staff on Friday, December 5, 2014, dailycal.org.

I’m also proud of the few police officers, like Pedro Serrano of the NYPD, who have come forward to testify about working under conditions of institutional racism that have been perpetuated for years, despite the institution of laws, policies and procedures to prevent them. His testimony in the face of ostracism and harassment from his ‘brothers in blue” is a Life Win for his community and a testament to his dedication and bravery.

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NYPD Officer Pedro Serrano. Photo by TV One

By the way, please don’t think I have a beef with the police. Some of my close friends are, or were police officers. I even lost a childhood friend who died in the line of duty (drug raid). I just don’t like those who abuse their authority or blindly make instantaneous, life-altering decisions based on centuries-old stereotypes and fears.

That’s it for me today. Have a “Win-derful” week!

Peace,

Bill M

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