2nd Qtr 2021 Perspectives Articles

photo courtesy: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/children-reciting-pledge-allegiance-during-street-1229223142

America For All

I grew up in a small town of 10,000 people called Fulton, Missouri, USA, in the 1980s. While the area was generally rural, Fulton was unusually rich in culture. It has two colleges, the state school for the deaf, a state prison, a significant connection to history (e.g., Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, a sculpture made from eight sections of the Berlin Wall), lots of farmers, academics, scientists and working class families. Fulton stands as the seat of Callaway County, which seceded from both the North and South and technically has never rejoined the United States. To this day people still refer to it as the “Kingdom of Callaway”.

Yet even with all that diversity of thought and experience, it is still populated— overwhelmingly—by people with lightly melanated skin (a.k.a. white people).

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The Other Woke* - Awake

“Woke” was first used in 1940 and began to be used in African American communities as the term, “stay woke,” about 2014.  “Stay Woke” advised alertness to negative police activities involving members of communities of color (i.e., black people, indigenous people, and other people of color).

Over time “Woke” expanded to include perceived and real injustices throughout communities of color. Then one tragic event - captured on video and broadcast globally – documented the slow death of a black man under the knee of a police officer. This powerful image stirred strong emotions beyond the black community and even beyond other communities of color. “Black Lives Matter (BLM)”, a movement born after the 2016 police shooting resulting in the death of Michael Brown, viscerally captured the deadly effects of the misperceptions and the incivility toward black communities.

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