For months I have pondered what can I say new to citizens of this great democracy, the United States of America, about justice and equality for all of its citizens. I’ve come to the realization that what needs to be said has already been meticulously communicated over generations by inspiring men and women simply stating, “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.” Earlier this year, I said to numerous friends and colleagues, wait, be patient and allow our leaders to blaze a path to solutions to the upheaval in this nation.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the past, and even today’s leaders, are saying we cannot be patient any longer. We do not want justice gradually. We want it now. Black men and women are being brutally beaten and having their lives taken by those employed to protect and serve disproportionately across this nation at an alarming rate. Today I ask the question, “How much longer can we be patient seeing the tragedies of lives being taken or severed by those who care not about the sanctity of life?”
Today I challenge all Americans to no longer be silent to the injustice that has shaken the very core of this democracy. We must stand today solidified in the quest to say to our elected and appointed officials that no longer can we be pacified by being told that committees are being established to review the many acts of injustice that have crippled our communities.
As I witness the many ongoing protests and other civil acts for justice, I sense the citizens of this nation feel an urgency to correct some of the wrongs that have been inflicted upon her citizens of color, the poor and the desolate by those in authority.
Many years ago, Dr. King in his wisdom shared what he believed to be the realities of what America should realize. He stated, “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sand of racial injustice, to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” He went on to elaborate saying, “It would be fatal for this nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”
The death of persons of color by those in authority and extreme groups reveal the great racial divide that continues to separate this nation. I too believe as many others that the bank of justice is not bankrupt. Americans refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So, America, the peaceful protesters will continue to come to this bank to cash the check that will give American citizens, upon demand, the riches of equality and the security of justice for all Americans.
The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem of today is silence to what is happening in and around this nation. We all must become lieutenants for justice now and forever.
Still today, one of the most prolific means by which we can initiate and accomplish change is by exercising our right to vote. By doing so, we can elect and send to the White House, to Congress, to the Statehouse, to our community government, and to the schoolhouse, persons who dare not compromise our dignity for their personal self-gain.
There is no greater time than now for all to stand true to our Constitution, which states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A school trustee for two decades, Vernon Stephens is the Democratic nominee in S.C. Senate District 39 in the 2020 general election.
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