Councilman Wingo writes to White America
As part of the conversation on race, policing and related issues that Masten Councilman Wingo wants to start, the Councilman penned a letter entitled: "White America, we challenge you; join us."
I quoted from the letter in a story in today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com on Wingo's fist-raising protest during the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday's Council meeting, but thought readers would be interested in reading the entire letter.
So here it is:
If it were not for stress, the threat against the existential norms of certain elements of society, our lives would be devoid of the necessary stimulus to move or change. History has taught us that protests provide the necessary stress for those in leadership to act upon the demands of the oppressed. The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 would not have been enacted were it not for the pressure that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. placed on the Kennedy administration. Some believe that my protest two weeks ago in council chambers—as I raised my fist in the air and recited a silent prayer during The Pledge— was inappropriate because of the place and moment it occurred. However, I believe that the people making such assertions are really reacting to the audacity of a public official to raise his fist evoking the presence and authority of the Black Power movement. Still, some have divorced, in their minds, Black America from the rest of the country, and so public expressions of Black pride are commonly met with a palpable disdain. How dare we assert our First Amendment right to freely express ourselves.
"All Lives Matter” is the antithesis of “Black Lives Matter.” The message must be reiterated that Black power is not the equivalent of white supremacy or a societal insurrection to place African Americans above white Americans. What is being threatened is white America’s comfort, which is conditioned upon the deprivation of others’ liberties. We, as Americans, need to come to a place where the grief of the oppressed is not attacked, but received and digested. Many of my white middle-class Gen-Xer and Millennial colleagues are challenging their family views because of the recent protests of Americans across the nation. This needs to be the new norm.
Black Americans need allies. We need our white friends and neighbors to listen to our stories and make a concerted effort toward acknowledging our pain. We need you to work toward dismantling a system that was built on the backs of our ancestors and never meant to benefit us. This could be as simple as telling a family member that you will not tolerate their racially charged statements; believing your Black friends and coworkers when they recount their own experiences with racism; or reading and digesting heartbreaking news stories of police brutality to get a clearer picture of the problem we all face. This could be as uncomfortable as visiting a Black church and understanding, however briefly, what it feels like to be the only person in a room that looks like you. Or as difficult as addressing your own internalized racism and identifying the microagressions or overtly racist acts that you, however unintentionally, have committed.
Reflect. Rethink. Respond.
-Masten District Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo Sr.
Pretty in pink
South District Councilman Chris Scanlon left Tuesday's Council meeting mid-way through the session.
He was heading back to the hospital, he said.
He and his wife had a baby.
Adelaide Arlone Scanlon, according to Scanlon's Facebook post, was born 8:57 p.m. Sunday.
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