Support our Police or stand with Black Lives Matter against systemic racial inequalities and acknowledge we need change in our society? It’s simple; do both. The idea that this is even an either/or question is a contributing part of what is wrong in our community and country. Everyone knows what happened to George Floyd was wrong; everyone. The officers were arrested and one is being charged with murder. But we’ve been down this road time and time again, yet nothing changes. Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, the list goes on and on and nothing changes. That’s why there are protests, marches, and moments of silence on a daily basis in our county and country. Enough is enough.
Let’s get to the why, instead of focusing on the how. The black community has been systemically oppressed for decades (actually centuries) as we continue to pretend it’s not happening and insert a new name that everyone cares about after they are the victim of police brutality, for us all to witness on Social Media. Change is clearly needed when the same issue keeps coming up. So, let’s talk about what “Defund the Police” actually means and if it’s something that is relevant in Seal Beach. The idea behind it is complicated, but the easiest explanation is: divest from the police and invest in the community. Does this pertain to Seal Beach? No, not in my opinion. In larger cities, it means having trained social workers speak with the non-violent homeless, drug abusers, and the mentally ill people. In our current environment, police officers are dealing with all of the above and violent criminals. This doesn’t seem fair to them nor to the people needing the help. Additionally, investing in mental health and other community services is proactive and will reduce violence in the future by addressing problems earlier in their cycle. The overwhelming majority of people support police, but see the need to try new ways. The United States has 25% of the world’s prison population and only 4% of the world’s population. While “defund the police” is a controversial slogan, the idea behind it makes sense.
In order to understand the need for trained social workers, we have to acknowledge a system that was built to disenfranchise the black community. How? Redlining, segregation, loan discrimination, felony laws that disproportionally effect the black community and many more. There are thousands of studies out there that show how all of this has taken place since 1865, and even more so since the Civil Rights Acts of 1968, that has systematically oppressed the black community. I encourage people to spend some time reading about this or watch movies that provide the factual information. Netflix has a plethora of documentaries and true-life based movies that can be of great reference to understand why.
When I stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, I’m listening to their concerns, what they have been through and educating myself on how I can make everyone’s lives better. I hear and see the stories of racial profiling in Seal Beach. I listen to the fear a black man has in our town that he will end up on NextDoor for simply walking home or to his car. I hear our students’ racist interactions at Los Alamitos High School and even Middle School. I see you, I hear you, I stand with you.
I have actively taken part in the local peaceful demonstrations, the march down Main Street, and larger protests in Southern California. They are powerful moments in time that give me hope. On June 13, as me my family and about 50 others walked down Main Street, I heard many cars honking, I saw people holding their fists high (a show of respect and solidarity), and I experienced the energy that comes with making change. Sure, I heard the naysayers, but the positive reactions far outweighed the negative ones. This is not a moment in time; this is a movement that will change our country for the better. I encourage you to come find out for yourself and see how real change happens.
All lives matter
I want to thank the Event-News Enterprise and SUN for the outstanding job they do bringing local news and information to the community. What happens across the street is just as important as what happens across the state and country.
If you had told me a few months ago that one group’s life matters more than another and that educators (such as Los Alamitos Unified School District) would kowtow to that one group, which means putting other groups on a lower pedestal, I would have never believed it — especially when some members of that elevated group riot, loot and burn cities rather than peacefully protest and demand change at the ballot box. I fully support peaceful protests.
One of the best ways to bring people together is for everyone to have an economic stake in their community. This is why I will be voting to re-elect President Trump.
As a Christian, I have always treated everyone fairly without regard for our differences (race, religion, gender, sexual orientation). If I had to give that thinking a name, it would be All Lives Matter.
Wonderful to see outpouring of support
I just turned 80, but I managed to walk with the young people to Eisenhower Park, in the Black Lives Matter march on Saturday, June 13.
It was wonderful to see the outpouring of support — lots of applause and thanks — for the marchers calling attention to the plight of black people who face obstacles and need justice. I feel the march showed decency and caring on the part of our little town of Seal Beach. Let’s keep it up!
Disappointed in report
I was quite disappointed in Charles M Kelly’s report, “Two views in local demonstrations,” in the June 18 edition of the Sun. First, my wife and I were participants in the Black Lives Matter march down main street and I counted approximately 100 individuals not the 40 as reported. Second, to give equal space to the few individuals who opposed the sentiments of the marchers was both imbalanced and unnecessary. And Thirdly many citizens responded to the march in a positive and enthusiastic manner, cars honking support, people waving and raising their fists in agreement and a number of individuals stopping their activities to join the march. I am pleased to be a member of a community that is supporting an important social, national and international movement that is willing to examine and oppose racism.
Good deeds in trying times
It is refreshing to see citizens taking action to improve out city. Tom Hermstad and Ken Sietz have been working together to improve the entrance to Gum Grove Park. They are tending native California coastal plants and eliminating invasive species, as well as tending neglected trees and shrubs in the grove. They work for the love of this environment and receive no pay, only the satisfaction of seeing native California coastal plants survive. In these difficult times, it is great to see positive action such as this. Kudos!