While walking my dog recently, I was happy to see that someone had written messages and names on the sidewalk surrounding Fuller Park. Names in memory of those who have died at the hands of police officers such as George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Gardner, etc. and messages like, “Black Lives Matter" and "What Are You Doing?”
If any of those who were demonstrating recently read this, I wanted to say that there are many of us who have been "doing" and working for peace for decades and never resorted to the violence and destruction that was televised throughout our country at the end of May.
Until COVID-19 forced us into our homes, a small group of us had been holding a Peace vigil every other month on the corners of Third Street and Soscol Avenue.
I capitalized "Peace" because for over 50 years I have been in vigils and demonstrations starting in San Antonio, Texas in 1968 protesting the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The vandalism and looting, I realize, is mostly from the infiltration of those who only want to cause trouble and discredit the honest desire that most have for justice. However, those hate-filled, greedy people are the ones who are causing a bad name for those dedicated to peace and justice. Just as the three police officers didn't stop the one kneeling on George Floyd's neck until he died, we all have an obligation when we see a wrong to correct it.
One of the signs I carried protesting the war in Vietnam was "Evil Exists Because Good People Do Nothing."
Just as this coronavirus has made some deep changes in our way of life, the recent events can also make some significant and lasting changes in how we see and treat each other.
The message in chalk on Fuller Park's sidewalk said "Be Better." That's a good way to start.
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