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Fighting the power battle far from over in this society

Photo caption: Willowbrook, Illinois Juneteenth shooting crime scene

The number of shootings and gun deaths over the Juneteenth weekend was another somber reminder of the state of the union in our nation. Those in authority to make needed changes in laws, agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of citizens, continue to ignore citizens’ requests.

More than 100 shootings left at least 14 dead, continuing a rise in homicides across the country. This deadly violence included mass shootings in suburban Chicago, Washington State, central Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Southern California, Mississippi, Indianapolis, Idaho and Baltimore.

The senseless carnage continues at least in part because our national leadership is at an impasse when it comes to addressing the needs of the people.

No one can remember a time when the political division was as stark and defined as it is today. It has long been the case that Republicans vote strictly along Party lines. It doesn’t matter the consequences of their lack of compassion, they refuse to yield.

Even as the nation celebrated the holiday, acknowledging the liberation of enslaved human beings, you had Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence not only decrying the observation, but countering with a vow to restore names of Confederate soldiers struck from monuments and military bases.

It is not enough to object to measures that bring the races closer together. People like DeSantis and Pence consider it their moral obligation to contribute to the chasm of understanding between people of different cultures and orientations. This is reflective of consummate evil and an anathema to civility.

Even as the symbolic significance of Juneteenth has the potential to serve as a foundation on which to build a better racial climate in America, the truth for sidebar is Black Americans are constantly facing challenges to the human rights due them at birth.

Vice President Kamala Harris is calling out legislative attempts to weaken civil rights like access to voting, reproductive health and “the freedom to learn our country’s history in full.”

Civil Rights leaders and advocates share the same concerns for the freedoms of Black Americans, and are collectively organizing a new targeted effort in the South to push back against what they see as a deliberate movement to suppress the power of Black voters.

Earlier this month, several organizations and community leaders gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for a rare convening to discuss a range of concerns impacting Black and brown communities—from the banning of books about the history of racism in the United States to a wave of restrictive voting laws they say make it harder for Black and brown Americans to vote.

“Historically, we’ve always had to address the attacks on our rights and our freedoms, and that’s where we are,” said Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation (NCBC).

NCBC held its inaugural southern organizing leadership convening at Clark Atlanta University with a theme of “Power of the Ballot, the Buck and the Book” – inspired by the words of John Wesley Dobbs, the father of Campbell’s late mentor, former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson.

Advocates and leaders have grown more concerned about the ability of Black Americans to access freedoms secured by their forefathers and foremothers as a result of decades-long organizing and activism.

You know the thinking of those who purport to be capable of leadership is totally eschewed when you have a DeSantis helping raise funds for the subway killer a few weeks ago, while he has been inhumanely mum on the despicable tragedy during which a mother of four was shot and killed knocking on a neighbor’s door.

Sadly, too many across this nation vote against their self-interest when they keep politicians in office because they agree with their rhetoric on issues like abortion, migration, and racial suppression even though their political action in myriad other areas works against the average citizen of any race.

So, the challenge becomes to sustain efforts to fight the power. There’s no single strategy, and it won’t be done easily, but we must always remain aware of the day or necessity to fight against the hatred and racism that has become far too pervasive in everyday life in America.

Vernon A. Williams
Vernon A. Williams

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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