27 Jan WRIT (We Rest in Truth): Arbery, Rittenhouse, COVID, Guns & Murder
WRIT (We Rest in Truth)
Arbery, Rittenhouse, COVID, Guns & Murder
Where is Justice, Where is Equity?
by Lori R. Gay
We all watched with dismay, triumph and horror as decisions were made in late last year that impact the future of our country. In common law, a writ (Anglo-Saxon gewrit, Latin breve) is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction; in modern use, this body is generally a court. Warrants, prerogative writs, and subpoenas are common types of writ, but many forms exist and have existed.
What is the “writ” of our time if gun laws allow for our citizens to both give and take at free will? What is a democracy if men can shoot someone down in the street and call it “justice”? What is justice when a teenager shoots and kills two people in a premeditated and planned execution, lies about it and is pardoned? Why wasn’t his mother, who drove him across state lines, also brought to trial? Would a Black teenager have been allowed to walk into a crowd with an AR-15 rifle, be given water and encouraged to “mingle”? No. Never.
It really seems like our judicial system is unfair. How do we help to bring more equity for all? We DON’T rest in Truth if we don’t maintain equal and just standards for all.
Kill the Indigenous, save the child was the “law” of our land in as late as the 1900s; many Americans and other global citizens believed in and stood by while Native American children were snatched from their families and told that their lives would improve if their culture was snuffed out. Are we any different today? Do we stand by while the lives of children of color are cut off by the cruelty of people who won’t accept their differences and choose to spew hate and death? Are those families of color who don’t “voice” this cruelty just as bad? These are tough questions for us all. It has been said that “people of color” who watch as things happen are sometimes just tired or scared. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
The town I grew up in, in northern California, recently participated in a vote to declare themselves a “constitutional republic” to somehow dismiss the state laws surrounding COVID protections. Really? Yes, 48% of families in Oroville are vaccinated, but a larger majority are not. Who voted to take the stance that working to protect everyone means nothing? So, disconnected from WRIT or “we rest in truth”. When will we ever learn that to truly participate in a democracy that declares, “freedom and justice for all”, that it is NOT about you; it is not about any “one” of us, but about the protection, health and freedom for everyone that we must actively advocate and declare to seize and hold onto for an equitable society.
What is Truth today as we all live in what we call a ‘just’ society? What will be our legacy? What “truths” will we pass on to our children, family and communities? When is it time to stand up for equality, justice and life and liberty for all?
We want to encourage solutions. If we track the ultimate outcome of the Ahmaud Arbery murder, trial, sentencing and then, changes in the law, we can see a progression (while not perfect), that is focused in an equitable direction. In the aftermath of the murder, Georgia enacted hate crimes legislation in June 2020, then repealed and replaced its citizen’s arrest law in May 2021. These kinds of actions help break the cycle of systemic racism that has so gravely impacted many families.
We all have watched as a generation of young people protest, despite the odds to help make sure their voices are heard. This is America too. It was pointed out to me that we must all strive to be a part of that “talented 10th” that W.E. B. DuBois wrote about as we continue to reach others. As we begin our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of an excerpt from the “I Have A Dream Speech” in 1963 by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who squarely emphasized,
“One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise 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.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the “fierce urgency of now”…Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice…Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
At NHS, we’re committed to serving all families with equity and dignity and look forward to the progress we will make together to see an America which cares for all of its people, not just some of them, loving our neighbors as we do ourselves. – Lori Gay