Voices
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I am writing this column as the death toll from COVID-19 reaches 120,000 in our country. But even in the face of this unprecedented loss of life, the number one issue on most people’s minds is the social justice finally being demanded by all races and all across our land. The goal: to finally end systemic racism and singularly abolish police brutality directed at people of color – and especially African Americans – after the gruesome “slow motion” murder of George Floyd at the hands of an out-of-control police officer in Minneapolis while three of his peers stood idly by. 

It is time.

It is time to not only radically change policing in America but also our courts and prison systems, all of which have made being a Black male in America target number one. 

It is time.

But police reforms are not enough. It is time to finally, fully and truthfully face the immoral racism that permeates every neighborhood and corner of our country and implement the systemic changes necessary to finally end this scourge of our non-white citizenry and especially Black members of our society.  

It is time.

It is time to finally address all of the other and cumulatively even more inhibiting inequities people of color in this country face daily, including but not limited to education, housing, employment, health care, and food insecurity.  

It is time.

It is time for white America to stop rationalizing why we are “not racist” while we and our ancestors have stayed silent for decades and centuries. It is also time to finally acknowledge we ourselves have had affirmative action our entire lives and history in this country – it is called white privilege. 

It is time.

It is time to finally and fully include our country’s racist past and present in the “history” we teach to our children. Not a mere acknowledgement or footnote in our history books but full chapters and the dedicated teaching of our country’s history, including but not limited to decades of public lynchings, the Tulsa Race Massacre, Charlottesville, and the Watts and 1992 civil unrest; the Zoot Suit Riots, Chavez Ravine, and “cages” at the border; the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and our reservation system; a “Chinaman’s Chance,” relocation of Terminal Island families (and taking of their homes), and current pandemic-inspired acts of discrimination against Asian-Americans.  

It is time.

It is time to finally rid ourselves of our incompetent, narcissistic, ignorant, race-baiting president. He is not a “public” servant but rather enriches his family while he and his traveling entourage stay at his own properties; he empowers his equally incompetent family members and is overtly divisive when our nation needs a healing and compassionate leader during multiple crises, all while he panders to white supremacists and prioritizes the 1%.    

It is time.

It is time to acknowledge that while all men are “created equal,” people of color have never been treated equally in this country. All people, regardless of color, deserve equal justice under the law and equal opportunities for a future life of quality. Sadly, it took the gruesome murder of George Floyd to bring to the forefront the extreme inequalities people of color face here every day. We must keep demanding the structural reforms necessary to end racism at every level in our country, and we must keep on peacefully protesting in the streets until we produce the changes our nation deserves. Marian Wright Edelman once said, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You can just do it one step at a time.”

It is time. spt

photo of san pedro today author Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor.

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