Letter to the Editor: One in Our Grief

The following letter appeared on the site FITSNews.com as a letter to the editor on July 11, 2016. It is in response to the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the tragic attacks on Dallas police in early July. 

Dear Editor,

During this moment of disbelief, of anger, of chaos across the country, it is important that we come together as a community to acknowledge the loss and work to address the issues that have led us here.  These are problems that we must tackle everywhere and at once.  We must share both our grief and our resolve.

First, we must confront the sadness brought to the nation by these most recent killings, not just of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but also the terrible slaying of five officers in Dallas.

We cannot forget that the tragic situation in Dallas did not end the way it began – police were posing for pictures with protesters, doing their jobs while concerned citizens made themselves heard.  And at the end of the evening, far too many sacrificed in the noblest way possible – protecting these very same people and the freedoms that we all value so dearly.

Police and protesters were coming together to heal, building a mutual trust that has now been tragically shattered by a cruel and calculated attack.

Every time I am reminded of these events, my thoughts go to the scenes surrounding them.  Not just the ones that show death, but the ones that show the impact on those left alive.  The image of a mother fighting to keep a straight face in front of the camera, while her son weeps openly in the background, clinging to his family members for support, grief stricken at the loss of his dad.  Or the raw emotion of a police chief as he discusses losing his officers.

The problem didn’t start two years ago, or even ten. For the members of our black community, the pattern that has played out over the last several days is all too familiar.  Our collective indignation is long overdue.

When I get pulled over, I’m worried about the points on my license, hoping that maybe I’ll get a warning and be sent on my way.  I have never feared for my life in that situation.  I’ve never been worried about being beaten or shot, or watched it happen to a friend.  I’ve never had to console someone’s child who must now grow up without a parent.

To be concerned and passionate about this issues is not to be against law enforcement. We recognize that our police officers do difficult, often thankless work, and must always acknowledge their sacrifice and dedication. To say “Black Lives Matter” in no way implies the lives of others don’t.  Systemic racism can only be dismantled and tackled through the people fighting every day for change.  Mutual trust between the police and the people they serve can only be built through sincerity and understanding.

We must refuse to accept the current circumstances as adequate, equal, or just and unite for a safer future.

Chris Fedalei
Candidate for U.S. Congress (SC-4)