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The recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have ignited this country in protest against police brutality. There are demands for defunding (or “re-funding”) the police, de-escalation training, and for outlawing chokeholds. All of these changes, though necessary, are not enough.

After all, Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery weren’t killed by police but by citizens who, based on skin color, decided these men were criminals who deserved to be hunted and killed. We must ask ourselves why these citizens believed they had the right to be judges and executioners of Trayvon and Ahmaud.

Too many people respond with “All Lives Matter” when they hear “Black Lives Matter.” We must ask ourselves why white citizens believe that valuing one life means devaluing another and fail to see that all lives will not matter until black lives matter.

Journalists were tear gassed, beaten and arrested while covering the protests. We must ask ourselves why we are afraid to see another person’s pain.

Racism is so deeply entrenched in our society that too many of us fail to recognize that it even exists. Addressing police brutality focuses on a symptom and not the disease. Until we as a society and as individuals truly believe in the worth and dignity of every person all lives will not matter.

In peace and in hope.

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Peg Wherry, President

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman