An Open Letter to Governor Mark Dayton

To the Honorable Governor Mark Dayton,

I know little about your tenure as Governor of Minnesota. Perhaps you have always exhibited tenacity in the face of injustice. Perhaps you have always spoken up for the disenfranchised. Perhaps your term in office has been marked by other exemplary acts of bravery. However, today, I have witnessed your courage. And I feel obligated to express to you how deserving you are of the title Honorable Governor.

Governor Dayton, you have dared to do what few politicians would have the audacity to do. You have told it exactly how it is. You have painted a black and white picture where others would paint in shades of gray. You have boldly stated the obvious. “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white? I don’t think it would have.”

The truth of this statement was enough to stir up a deep sadness. But far more profound than its truth was the shock I felt at reading it. Whereas other politicians were offering up standard textbook hollow heartfelt consolation and trite messages of sympathy, you were challenging a nation to concede a horrifying reality. One that too many people refuse to see.

I took a look at your Facebook Page today Governor Dayton. It served as a reminder of how few people are willing to accept that discrimination and blatant racism exist. Even when presented with a live stream. I read the abuse being hurled at you. I marveled at how people were blaming you for the deaths of the Dallas police officers. This is what compelled me to write to you. You must know, every politician must know, that choosing to herald the truth rather than cower behind clichéd condolences is honorable. I commend you. I know many others who do as well.

My stepfather was an NYPD police officer. He was a hero. And many, perhaps even most, of the men and women who wear the badge are heroes. But acknowledging these heroes can not go hand in hand with disavowing the cowards. You know that. I hope your willingness to openly recognize this fact will help others realize it as well.

Thank you Governor Dayton. Thank you for being a defender of justice and decency. Thank you for being a role model even when it meant risking the condemnation of your voters. And, most of all, thank you for being a loud and fearless voice in the midst of a deafening silence.