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Does America have ‘justice’? Or is it ‘just us’?

America has a disparate justice system — one for whites and one for people of color.

In front of his three children another black male is shot by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who shot the black male seven times in his back. What a weak and cowardly act for anyone to do, especially for someone we entrust to do that which is right, also someone who has had extensive training in the apprehension and restraining their subjects.

How is it possible that a white teenager openly carrying a gun in the street in front of numerous police officers that shot and killed two individuals, was taken into custody without incident? When you are a black male and encounter a police officer, often the outcome for the black is death, especially if that officer is white. It is clear this police officer wanted to kill this black man, and the only reason the black male is not dead is because of God’s grace and mercy.

It is my understanding the police union said that Jacob Blake put one of the officers in a headlock. It has been over a week and no evidence supporting such a claim has been produced. Surely, if there were such evidence, it would have been showed to the public immediately. Why? The officers did not have on their body cameras?

When a white individual kills a black male, all that individual has to say is that he or she was in fear of his or her life to justify the killing. When a policeman kills a black male, they justify their actions by lies and assassinate that individual’s character, etc.

One would think after the senseless killing of George Floyd and all the other black individuals who were killed by the police, this would have changed. Not by defunding the police, but by police reform, ending systemic racism, having open forums for citizens to address their concerns, being transparent, having integrity and regaining integrity by getting rid of the bad apples. To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs, and a new broom sweeps clean.

It was said that policemen are just like anyone else, that at the end of the day, they want to be able to come home to their families as well. I agree, but keep in mind, numerous blacks don’t, come home to their families when they have had an encounter with a police officer.

Imagine the family was yours and someone now is paralyzed because he or she was shot seven times in the back. Imagine the trauma and future therapy your sons ranging between the ages of three and eight, have to endure for the rest of their lives seeing and hearing their father being shot seven times in the back by a police officer.

Now imagine the person who inflected this undue anger, distress and anxiety upon your family was black, how would you feel? What justice would you want? Or would you want to get a rope and find the nearest tree? The saga continues, and the perpetuation of injustice reeks as rotting flesh. What good does it do to give our black children toys at Christmas, only to take their life later?

Blacks’ fight for equality today is the same fight our parents, grandparents, great grandparents fought years ago. A change must come. Police brutality and other injustices occurring across our nation have to end. Our nation is divided as never before. What happened to the foundation of our America Pledge of Allegiance, “One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all?”

Blacks are being called the “N” word today by whites as in the slavery days. Leaving me to question, have those individuals always felt that way but mask those feelings, and if so, what reignited those racial and degrading slurs?

It’s truly disheartened to see our nation in the condition it is now and thinking it may only get worse. During that moment of thinking, a gentle voice reminded me, Jesus said obey man’s law, let the wheat and tares grow together, and the day of harvest, he will do the separating.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteous like a mighty stream. … We can never be satisfied as long as black Americans are victims of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

Honor Congressman John Lewis and vote; get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.

Stephen Washington is a Natchez resident concerned about injustice and racism.