Writer’s note: This short was written in early-June.
This weekend we witnessed with trepidation a sight Utahns do not see very often, a riot. We watched the anger, frustration, grief, and injustice of a people boil over into chaos in the streets. We heard chants for justice for George Floyd and repetitious cries of “hands up, don’t shoot!” The images that are forever seared in the memories of those who experienced the protest last Saturday are a stark reminder that, despite 401 years after the first slave was brought here from Africa, there is a great injustice in this country that will not be solved by a few handshakes, some token policy, and a pat on everyone’s backs.
This protest, and others like it, is not a fight among adversaries, we are all Americans simply practicing our constitutional rights for the voices of the black community to be heard and respected. We are over 400 years since the slave trade began and this country still insists on treating black people as second-class citizens, or not citizens at all, or unfortunately not as humans at all in some instances. As a white person who grew up in Utah, I didn’t learn about the Tulsa Race Massacre and its devastating effects on a thriving black community.