Paying a debt

Opinion Jun 22, 2020 Stoney Creek News

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there is a promissory note that was written when the white, slaveholding architects of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence stated that “all men, yes black men as well as white men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Even though King was referring to the United States, those glorious words inscribed on these two influential documents, can also be used as touchstones for a debt that all colonial governments owe from when they established their global empires. They built their societies on the graves of Indigenous peoples and established a governance structure that inculcated a white power structure that has lasted into the 21st century.

That promissory note contains a sacred obligation of liberty and equality, and diverse communities across the world are now asking those same power structures to honour it.

The very public death of George Floyd at the hands and knee of a police officer — a familiar icon of an oppressive governing body — is the final straw. Diverse communities across countries are prepared to rise up and demand that promises made so long ago now be paid in full.

Cries to defund police are only one facet of a movement that wants the rules of the game to change. There have been recent minor moves by governments and businesses to address the historical racism and bias that have rigged the economic, political and social environments, but more needs to be done.

Should there be a version of a truth and reconciliation commission in each country as was first done in South Africa to reveal the truth and allow for a reckoning of what has been done to various Indigenous and diverse populations for hundreds of years?

What South Africa discovered is that it takes a long time to talk, absorb and understand how to navigate a complicated past. At the moment, the protests in Canada are more of a scattershot approach to seeking redress; vilifying streets, schools and towns after British figures, or calling for the defunding of various police departments.

There needs to be an opportunity to eliminate the constant cycles of retribution, retaliation and violence that has plagued communities as they transform from oppression to true democracy. There needs to be an opportunity for groups, individuals and victims to tell their stories, hear their confessions, unburden themselves from the pain and suffering they experienced, before our society pledges to do better and begin the healing process.

For our communities to unite, all groups, and all peoples need a true reconciliation; for peace to endure requires an embrace of our mistakes and a willingness to do better. True reconciliation is supported by a strong foundation of forgiveness.

Only then can we make good on that promissory note, not only to the diverse community who deserve a proper return on their investment for enduring and sacrificing their lives for their country, but also for all people to better understand that a divided country cannot stand.

A debt still to be paid to the world's diverse communities

Opinion Jun 22, 2020 Stoney Creek News

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there is a promissory note that was written when the white, slaveholding architects of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence stated that “all men, yes black men as well as white men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Even though King was referring to the United States, those glorious words inscribed on these two influential documents, can also be used as touchstones for a debt that all colonial governments owe from when they established their global empires. They built their societies on the graves of Indigenous peoples and established a governance structure that inculcated a white power structure that has lasted into the 21st century.

That promissory note contains a sacred obligation of liberty and equality, and diverse communities across the world are now asking those same power structures to honour it.

The very public death of George Floyd at the hands and knee of a police officer — a familiar icon of an oppressive governing body — is the final straw. Diverse communities across countries are prepared to rise up and demand that promises made so long ago now be paid in full.

Related Content

Cries to defund police are only one facet of a movement that wants the rules of the game to change. There have been recent minor moves by governments and businesses to address the historical racism and bias that have rigged the economic, political and social environments, but more needs to be done.

Should there be a version of a truth and reconciliation commission in each country as was first done in South Africa to reveal the truth and allow for a reckoning of what has been done to various Indigenous and diverse populations for hundreds of years?

What South Africa discovered is that it takes a long time to talk, absorb and understand how to navigate a complicated past. At the moment, the protests in Canada are more of a scattershot approach to seeking redress; vilifying streets, schools and towns after British figures, or calling for the defunding of various police departments.

There needs to be an opportunity to eliminate the constant cycles of retribution, retaliation and violence that has plagued communities as they transform from oppression to true democracy. There needs to be an opportunity for groups, individuals and victims to tell their stories, hear their confessions, unburden themselves from the pain and suffering they experienced, before our society pledges to do better and begin the healing process.

For our communities to unite, all groups, and all peoples need a true reconciliation; for peace to endure requires an embrace of our mistakes and a willingness to do better. True reconciliation is supported by a strong foundation of forgiveness.

Only then can we make good on that promissory note, not only to the diverse community who deserve a proper return on their investment for enduring and sacrificing their lives for their country, but also for all people to better understand that a divided country cannot stand.

A debt still to be paid to the world's diverse communities

Opinion Jun 22, 2020 Stoney Creek News

As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there is a promissory note that was written when the white, slaveholding architects of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence stated that “all men, yes black men as well as white men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Even though King was referring to the United States, those glorious words inscribed on these two influential documents, can also be used as touchstones for a debt that all colonial governments owe from when they established their global empires. They built their societies on the graves of Indigenous peoples and established a governance structure that inculcated a white power structure that has lasted into the 21st century.

That promissory note contains a sacred obligation of liberty and equality, and diverse communities across the world are now asking those same power structures to honour it.

The very public death of George Floyd at the hands and knee of a police officer — a familiar icon of an oppressive governing body — is the final straw. Diverse communities across countries are prepared to rise up and demand that promises made so long ago now be paid in full.

Related Content

Cries to defund police are only one facet of a movement that wants the rules of the game to change. There have been recent minor moves by governments and businesses to address the historical racism and bias that have rigged the economic, political and social environments, but more needs to be done.

Should there be a version of a truth and reconciliation commission in each country as was first done in South Africa to reveal the truth and allow for a reckoning of what has been done to various Indigenous and diverse populations for hundreds of years?

What South Africa discovered is that it takes a long time to talk, absorb and understand how to navigate a complicated past. At the moment, the protests in Canada are more of a scattershot approach to seeking redress; vilifying streets, schools and towns after British figures, or calling for the defunding of various police departments.

There needs to be an opportunity to eliminate the constant cycles of retribution, retaliation and violence that has plagued communities as they transform from oppression to true democracy. There needs to be an opportunity for groups, individuals and victims to tell their stories, hear their confessions, unburden themselves from the pain and suffering they experienced, before our society pledges to do better and begin the healing process.

For our communities to unite, all groups, and all peoples need a true reconciliation; for peace to endure requires an embrace of our mistakes and a willingness to do better. True reconciliation is supported by a strong foundation of forgiveness.

Only then can we make good on that promissory note, not only to the diverse community who deserve a proper return on their investment for enduring and sacrificing their lives for their country, but also for all people to better understand that a divided country cannot stand.