The trauma our communities—and indeed, our country—has experienced regarding the deaths of young Black men has been traumatic.
Since the murder of George Floyd, we have attempted to comprehend and reconcile the way those meant to serve the public engage with our communities of color. Yet we are left to endure the shooting of a 16-year-old teenager at the Jimmy Lee Rec Center and the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.
As a Black man, I feel the hurt, the fear, and the heartbreak on a personal level that fuels my commitment to public service. The details of both tragedies wrench our collective hearts. The trauma their families have endured will persist long after the headlines have moved on and thoughts and prayers have shifted to the next tragedy.
People are angry. They feel a sense of righteous indignation and know the indomitable truth that the safety of one is the safety of all. People will protest and make their anguished cries for justice be heard.
But as we demand justice, accountability, and the recognition of our shared humanity, let us do so peacefully. As we rise to support Black men who suffer violence, let us understand we do so best when we continue to be our neighbor’s keeper. The cause of justice is strengthened, and indeed fueled, by our peaceful and powerful demand for accountability.
As our neighborhoods, cities, and country move forward, we must not lose sight that public safety must be comprehensive and accountable. And we must not forget that the voices of Black men must be at the tables of public policy making, especially as we comprehend that those charged with these brutal acts of inhumanity are Black.
We must continue to grow the relationship between community and law enforcement, invest in programs that offer opportunity to our youth, and advocate for the banning of firearms in our Rec Centers.
Our way forward will be fraught with difficult conversations, but they must be had to truly create public safety.