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We all have work to do

To the editor:

I was happy to see that the Daily Mining Gazette featured a story about the Black Lives Matter movement on the front page of the weekend edition for 5/30-5/31. BLM is a response to the terrible treatment given to so many persons of color (POC) around the county.

I think that no matter a person’s political leanings, each one of us can list at least one POC who was treated unjustly because of their race, actions that brought upon un-due harassment, injury, or even death. This othering and bigoted behavior has happened for centuries to black and brown people in this country, in fact this type of thinking is at the very foundation of our nation.

Recently we have collectively witnessed countless acts of civilian and state violence against POCs. These latest well-known examples: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery were killed for writing a check, sleeping in their own bed, and going for a jog.

It’s so much more than unfortunate that it took such tragedies to lay bare the many systemic threats to non-white communities that result in inequity. These fresh tragedies come at a time when POC are also being disproportionately killed by COVID-19.

I have been heartened to see daily protests on the lift bridge to draw attention to events that may feel far away to many of the readers of the DMG. These events are not far way from Houghton though. Long-time residents of our communities, and students at MTU, face the same types of racism in Houghton as they do around the country: direct racism, implicit racism, and systemic racism. It will take work to dismantle racism at all of these levels.

We all have a part to play in working towards a truly equitable United States, and in ending a terrible history (and present) of racism. We all have work to do here in the UP, and in Lansing, and in Washington DC. We each have an obligation to act. It can start as simple as contacting elected officials to encourage more equal and fair policies that dismantle the inequities harming POC communities. We have one important first step to take to create a better world: to listen.

We will become better allies to our neighbors and our fellow citizens if we listen to voices different from our own. We must listen and we must act on what we learn to collectively move forward. We can all do more to speak out, both when we clearly see hate, and to identify the laws and policies built upon centuries of hate that disproportionately target POC.

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