NAACP: We must eliminate disparities that harm us all

April Jackson of the Salisbury City Council addresses a crowd from the steps of the Wicomico County Courthouse in Downtown Salisbury. About 100 people gathered last Thursday to protest racial conditions across the nation.

The following viewpoint was submitted by the local Presidents of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew a flag outside its offices that read “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday” to mark the lynching of Black people in the United States.

It is a shame on our nation that almost a century later, Black people continue to be brutalized and killed by racists.

The tragic death of George Floyd has heart wrenchingly reminded us that as a community and nation we still have many strides to make toward creating “a more perfect union” that ensures that there is “justice for all.”

While the families of George Floyd mourn the death of their father, son, brother, uncle, nephew we too mourn with them. We mourn for all the others that were taken away from us all too soon at the hands of police officers who have sworn an oath “to serve and protect.”

Please understand that the most recent incident and the many others prior are NOT isolated incidents. They are directly related to the systemic racism that plagues our country at an even more alarming rate than the coronavirus.

Our communities, including the Eastern Shore of Maryland, have been in a state of emergency long before the first Covid-19 case was brought to light.

“Enough is Enough,” as a community we are frustrated, hurting, and tired of incidents such as those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery happening continually in our communities.

We are carrying the heavy burdens of past and present incidents within our community and pinned up emotions that come with seeing our brothers and sisters harassed, harmed, and killed has manifested in the many of the protests and riots that have occurred in at least 100 cities of our nation in the last few days.

While we don’t condone violence, we empathize as those who feel unheard will create a way to be heard. As a community and country we have reached our limit and need to see change now, #WeAreDoneDying.

To our brothers and sisters of Wicomico County and the Eastern Shore, with all the sadness, hurt, and frustration that we may be feeling right now, we must use that momentum and energy to push forward as we have in the past and be strategic and measured as we battle this latest grave injustice.

The NAACP will not rest until we see these officers charged and convicted for the murder of George Floyd. We must keep our focus on redressing the systemic racism against our community that led to this tragedy.

We cannot afford to do so while losing more Black sons and daughters. We must protest peacefully, demand persistently, and fight politically.

We must take this time to renew our commitment to our communities while eliminating racial disparities that are harming our communities and taking our lives.

Signed by the Lower Eastern Shore NAACP Presidents:

Wicomico — Mary Ashanti 

Worcester — Ivory Smith

Somerset — The Rev. Charles Bagley

Dorchester — James Pinkett

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