The death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police has set off a wave of grief, anguish and anger in Colorado Springs and across the globe. Americans witnessed yet another person of color killed at the hands of law enforcement.
The outrage at the killing of Floyd was magnified by the deaths of De’Von Bailey, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor, just to name a few who met similar fates in recent years.
The protests show one thing: There’s a lesson white Americans need to learn — and re-learn. Opportunity isn’t equal in America. The nation I know isn’t the same one familiar to people of color. Privilege based on skin color will never lead to equality. The repeated lessons we privileged take for granted must make people of color exhausted, sick-at-heart and furious.
And now, as friends and neighbors march to stop institutionalized racism, to stop the violence, unfair judicial practices and so much more, there’s a real struggle finding what to say, what to do, how to help.
It comes down to this: When you know better, you do better. That’s what Maya Angelou said and that’s what we are going to do at the Indy. We are going to do better.
[pullquote-1] We know it’s time to stand up and speak out. When we see racism in action, we will call for justice. If we uncover biased courts, we will hold judges accountable in print. If we see neighbors abused by the authorities, we will demand action. Silence is not an option; it never was. Our job is to seek truth – and report it. We’re going to do that job.
We’ve always supported social justice causes. The Indy was founded to stop legally sanctioned discrimination against the LGBTQ community because of Amendment 2. It’s a legacy we will put to use in today’s environment.
It’s our job to examine institutional bias in Colorado Springs and to shine a light on injustice; and we want to give voice to the people who haven’t been given one in the past. We also want to celebrate the successes of the region’s minority communities.
We’re going to look at hiring at the papers, to ensure that our staff reflects the diversity of the Springs. We fall short there now. We acknowledge the failure and we pledge to do better.
And we’ll need help from those communities whose voices often go unheard. We want to tell your stories, and we need to move toward more cooperation, more conversation and more healing — together. It will take all of us working together to achieve a more equal nation.
There’s still work to be done. There are still miles left to travel.
As a nation and a city, we’ve fallen far short of our promise. We haven’t upheld the values in the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitution. We’re not the shining city on the hill. Our great experiment — government of the people, by the people — does not exist if we don’t include ALL people.
As Langston Hughes wrote:
“O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.”
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect the accurate spelling of Philando Castile's name.