This is a response to Rance Brode’s letter, published in the Aug. 9 edition of The Owego Pennysaver. This letter is not directly aimed at Mr. Brode. If he had earnestly asked us what we are protesting for, a question we love to answer, then it would be. However, it is very clear from his letter that Mr. Brode already has his opinions about what we are doing, and I doubt he’s open to new information and changing his mind.
It is funny that he thinks we get our information only from a single source. That would be like me assuming he gets his information only from Fox News. It’s dangerous to assume, even though many of his “questions” do seem like they are straight from Fox News talking points.
Instead, this is to the larger Owego community. I started protesting on June 2 and I have been blown away by the support we’ve received. What started as a protest with three people has turned into a daily protest for more than two months now, and a group of dozens of Owego residents all standing up together.
We are protesting against the widespread police brutality found across the country, that if you are Black, you are disproportionately more likely to be killed by a police officer than if you are white, that cops who use excessive force should be held accountable, and we are fighting against the racism found right here in Owego.
While we have gotten a lot of support, every day we are reminded what we are fighting against. We are flipped off and told to get a job (we do). We are called idiots, “libtards”, pathetic, and even racist. People yell racial slurs at us. We get people displaying white supremacy signs at us. We even have a local Nazi come by sometimes. And of course, lots of shouts of “all lives matter”.
So let me say this as emphatically as I can, of course all lives matter. Our signs don’t say “only black lives matter”.
Here is the problem though. “All” didn’t include Black lives when the Constitution was written. “All” didn’t include Black lives when Jim Crow laws were in place. “All” didn’t include Black lives when segregation was legal. “All” didn’t include Black lives when interracial marriage was illegal. And “All” doesn’t include Black lives today when 40% of prison inmates are Black but make up only 13% of the U.S. population, or when Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, or how Black Americans are disproportionately more likely to feel the adverse effects of climate change than white Americans.
So, if you want to see a more just America, if you want to see an Owego community that doesn’t tolerate racism, if you want to stand up for the countless unarmed Black Americans killed by police, we invite you to join us anytime at the courthouse.
Find us on Facebook at Owego for Equality.