Letter: ‘All’ didn’t include black lives

Dear Editor,

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.


Colin Evans
Owego, N.Y. 

3 Comments on "Letter: ‘All’ didn’t include black lives"

  1. Rance D Brode | August 17, 2020 at 8:23 am | Reply

    Interesting Mr Evans starts his rebuttal to my letter with had I asked questions he would be glad to respond. My letter Aug 9 was basically all questions earnestly trying to understand this movement with emphasis on the senseless violence that has been attributed to the movement. It may be a simple as certain groups in our society are taking advantage , or operating under the pretense of the movement, to achieve anarchy goals , and to loot and pillage communities.
    Mr Evans assumption is wrong that I rely only on Fox News. I look at multiple news outlets with an eye not necessarily on a specific story, but what percent of their time do they spend on subjects and conclude the major liberal media sources spend far less time, for example, reporting on the devastation many communities have had under the pretext of peaceful protest.
    These media outlets seem to ignore or downplay senseless shootings and murders, attacks on police and first responders,and destruction and lootings of businesses
    Mr Evans also completely ignored my message of an “evolving country” with his examples pertaining to the constitution which he seems to not support. Our country has evolved and passed many types of legislation to try and improve discrimination but it can’t and should not try and rewrite history.
    Mr Evans selective use of statistics is of interest and tells a shallow story as he has selected what supports his commentary. I do not know his source of his data, but do know there are many sources indicating the improvement that has been made over time.
    I fully support, and always have, equal rights regardless of gender, race, or sexual preferences and believe All Lives Matter.
    The country is not perfect, but has “evolved” for the better. I support Mr Evan’s, and all citizens, right to peacefully protest and hope it continues to help our country “evolve” in the right direction. I equally hope that Mr Evans remains aware of the political aspect leveraging this great cause for their own agenda.

  2. Mr. Brode,

    First, I actually did not claim that you only get your information from Fox News. I was using that as an example because you claimed we (the ones protesting) only get our information from “single sources of biased social media”. And not for nothing, but I am now in my 4th year of a PhD program and already hold a Bachelors and two Masters degrees. So I am quite literally an expert at finding reputable information.

    Second, I did actually answer your question. It’s in the 4th paragraph. But if you’d like me to go through each and every one of your ridiculous questions. I will be happy to do so.

    Question 1: “Is it your views of racial injustice or are you supporting the radical movement that is sweeping this country, driven by the unbelievable power of social media biased against anything but their own agenda.”

    We are protesting as I said in my letter. Can you please, with documented evidence, show what radical movement is sweeping the country and how it is driven by a biased social media?

    Question 2: “Are you protesting in the courthouse square against the brave Men and Women who gave their lives defending our country and our freedoms?”


    Question 3: “Are you supporting the senseless violence and destruction in many cities across the country that has devastated communities, businesses, and the safety of their citizens?”


    Question 4: “Are you supporting defunding our brave officers so that this violence and anarchy can continue?”

    I am speaking for myself, and not the group as a whole. I do support defunding the police. In that I mean I believe we spend too much on policing and not enough on other social services. I believe we need the police and do not want to abolish it. Defund and abolish are two different things.

    Question 5: “Are you supporting the liberal Democratic Party whose sole objective is to make our citizens dependent on the government, thus increasing the government power?”

    Every single person out there has different political views. BLM is not a political movement. Equality and fighting racism should not be partisan. Personally, yes, I am proudly registered Democrat. Though I disagree with your opinion that its sole objective is to make citizens dependent on government.

    Question 6: “Do you have any understanding what Government controlled Communism has done to their countries?”

    Yes, I do. Do you have any idea about the success of the following countries: New Zealand, Ecuador, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Peru, Portugal, Netherlands, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Tunisia, and Sweden.

    Question 7: “Are you supporting the destruction of National monuments and statues that are our history?”

    Personally, yes. I believe there is a difference between knowing history and honoring a racist. Maybe those statues should belong in a museum, not atop our cities to be glorified. Glorify racists and traitors is pretty un-American to me.

    Question 8: “Are you aware that prior to the coronavirus impact our nation was experiencing tremendous economic growth, and the lowest unemployment rates for all of our citizens including blacks, Puerto Ricans and other minority groups?”

    Yes, these factors were continuing a long trend that started under President Obama.

    Question 9: “Are you aware that until the last several years it was considered wrong to wish someone a Merry Christmas or to have Prayer in public places?”

    I have been alive for 30 years, and not once I have ever met someone who thought it was wrong to wish someone a Merry Christmas or to pray in public.

    Question 10: “Are you aware that our country is based on God and his lessons, but our country does not specifically define God, allowing people of faith to define who their God is?”

    Our country was founded by men who believed in God, but who went to great lengths to ensure that we are not a Christian nation, and that anyone can practice whatever religion they want to in safety.

    Question 11: “Are you aware that our country is one that allows their citizens to leave if they so desire?”

    Sure, are you aware that thanks to the devastatingly inept handling of the pandemic at the federal level, our passports are basically useless right now?

    Question 12: “Do you support the destruction of our country and individual rights that many have died for to protect?”


    Question 13: “Or do you wish for True Democracy to continue to grow so that our country continues to evolve?”

    We actually don’t live in a true democracy. We live in a federal constitutional republic where we elect representatives to vote for us. I do want out country to continue to evolve, which is why I am protesting against racism in Owego.

    Now for your comment above.

    You are using the examples of violence and riots to denounce the entire BLM movement. Is that fair? When a racist cop kills an unarmed Black person, does that mean all cops are racist? When a white supremacist shoots up a Black church in Charleston, does that mean all white people are racist? When people get together to hold a rally in support of the police and one of them violently attacks a BLM protester, are all people who support the police violent? The answer is no. I cannot speak to the violence in other parts of the country, as I wasn’t there. But I have two thoughts on it. First, not all of the people inciting the violence are part of the BLM protests. They are opportunists and criminals using the protests as cover to do crime. Second, I have watched many, many videos where the violence is started by the police. If you were protesting something peacefully, and legally, and the cops showed up and just started pepper-spraying you, how would you react?

    You said “These media outlets seem to ignore or downplay senseless shootings and murders, attacks on police and first responders,and destruction and lootings of businesses”. So I ask this, what does that have to do with me and everyone else who is protesting in Owego? I am not part of the media. I have no control over what they publish. Why are you bringing this up?

    You said “Our country has evolved and passed many types of legislation to try and improve discrimination but it can’t and should not try and rewrite history.” Yes, we certainly have improved. But we also have a long way to go. Any who is trying to rewrite history? Did the Germans keep up portraits and statues of Hitler? Did the Italians forget who Mussolini is because there aren’t any statues of him anywhere? Are we going to forget what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq because his statues came down? No.

    You said “Mr Evans selective use of statistics is of interest and tells a shallow story as he has selected what supports his commentary. I do not know his source of his data, but do know there are many sources indicating the improvement that has been made over time.” I am not arguing that things haven’t improved. I am just pointing out that we still have a long way to go and that equality has not yet been achieved.

    Hope that answers your questions.

  3. Rance,

    Our signs don’t say ONLY Black Lives Matter, because we are in agreement with you that all lives matter. But right now, (and for a long time before this cultural moment) Black lives have mattered less. Black lives didn’t matter at all when our constitution was written, Black lives didn’t have a legal say about their rights as citizens until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was ratified, and Black lives occupy over 40% of our prisons in spite of being less than 15% of our population.
    BLM is the equivalent of calling the fire department to put a fire out at your house because it’s on fire. You don’t hate your neighbors houses, and that doesn’t mean they don’t matter to you, but yours is the one on fire right now. It is a gift that we don’t need to hold rallies saying All Lives Matter, because all our houses aren’t on fire, even though we live on the same street.

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