Letters to the Editor for February 25, 2020.
This Black History Month, I am reminded of the events that have rattled this country over the past few years. For too long, we have witnessed systemic racism, injustice, and inequality in our communities. We have witnessed too many people being harassed over the color of their skin. We have seen too many people die at the hands of those claiming to serve and protect us. And when we protest, we are often met with either tepid and shallow responses, or an armed force that sees itself as being at war with those demanding change, treating protesters to rubber bullets, tear gas, and flash-bang grenades.
For too long, we have ignored the systemic problems that have led us here. Redlining and segregation have left a legacy of hardship for communities of color in underserved and overpoliced neighborhoods. Majority-Black Gifford, Florida has a poverty rate twice the state average. Majority-Latino Fellsmere has a poverty rate of almost 40%. Black communities in Brevard have high poverty rates. Meanwhile, instead of investing into community resources and local businesses, we see well-funded police assaulting and killing civilians, like Alteria Woods, Byruss Green, and Gregory Edwards. We see our sheriffs like Wayne Ivey and Eric Flowers turn a blind eye to these problems.
We need to hold our elected officials accountable. We need to make sure our voice is heard through voting. We need to support Black-owned businesses. And in the fight for justice, we need to act with purpose to ensure that Black Lives Matter.
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