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Mere Words or Truths?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I have been and remain troubled by what seems like an uptick in the spate of deaths involving uniformed police and Black males (both young and old), but I’m believe that what actually seems like a spike is really a result of our modern systems of communication and faster, better reporting. While the issue at hand is what appears to be the unjustified killing of Black men, the bigger issue for me is the racism and the consistent disregard for the value and lives of ethnic minorities in this country. While as an African-descended American male I can speak on a personal level of and to the atrocities and damage wrought by 400 years of slavery and servitude of a people, my Native American brothers and sisters can be speak volumes to the impact that the colonization of North America has wrought on their people and Japanese Americans can speak to the sometimes harsh reality of life in an internment camp during World War II.

All this said, I’m reminded that post apartheid South Africa engaged its nation and people in a process of Truth and Reconciliation, which is something that has never happened in this country. Instead we tend to deal with the outcome of the problem rather than the root cause. And while that may provide some prophylaxis, it does nothing to eliminate the root cause. I maintain that in this great country of ours, there can never be genuine reconciliation and healing without facing the facts, engaging in an honest discussion of those facts, and making sound decisions based upon the truth and the facts.

I’m curious as to how you may feel…

free•dom
noun
1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

jus•tice
noun
1. just behavior or treatment.
the quality of being fair and reasonable.
the administration of the law or authority in maintaining this.
the personification of justice, usually a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword.
2. a judge or magistrate, in particular a judge of the supreme court of a country or state.

eq•ui•ty
noun
1. the quality of being fair and impartial.
2. the value of the shares issued by a company.

fair
adjective
1. in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate.
2. (of hair or complexion) light; blond.
3. considerable though not outstanding in size or amount.
4. (of weather) fine and dry.
(of the wind) favorable.
(of words, a speech, or a promise) false, despite being initially attractive or pleasing; specious.
right
noun
1. that which is morally correct, just, or honorable.
2. a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.
3. the right-hand part, side, or direction.
4. grouping or political party favoring conservative views and supporting capitalist economic principles.

Verb – 3rd person present: rights
1. restore to a normal or upright position.
life
noun
1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
2. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

lib•er•ty
noun
1. the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
an instance of this; a right or privilege, especially a statutory one.
the personification of liberty as a female figure.

2. the power or scope to act as one pleases.

hap•pi•ness
noun
the state of being happy.

A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.