Brenda Douglas: We must never succumb to racial injustice
To the editor:
In response to the guest column written by Tom Weiner (“A wake-up call on racism,” Feb. 12), I would like to respond as a black woman born in the early ’60s.
I would like to first say that I haven’t decided who I am angry with the most, society or my family. While growing up on the latter end of the civil rights movement, I later learned about the riots in Watts, Detroit and other major cities.
However, being raised in Springfield and going to integrated schools, I did not experience or appreciate the struggle of my people for the rights they deserved.
In fact, I can remember around the age of 5 admiring my knowledge of what bus I needed to take to get home while never being told how recently we as a people had earned the privilege of riding a bus without harassment. So, for whatever reason we were shielded — because the memories were so painful, or they didn’t want to cloud our view — our generation has grown up with a naivety and innocence in fairness and equality that does not exist.
Subsequently, we have been blindsided by the unfairness and injustices that are as prevalent as the cases mentioned in Weiner’s column, to the unfairness in the justice system, or in my own experience the sudden death on Oct. 10, 2008, of my 29-year-old son while in the custoday of Springfield police.
To date we have not been given an explanation of what happened.
I would be remiss not to mention that while these conditions exist, these are not the actions or beliefs of everyone. The support and open minds of others have allowed justice to prevail in the overturned conviction for Charles Wilhite last month in Springfield and, most importantly, the ability for us as a people not to feel defeated, We must use our support and resources to acknowledge the struggle before us, and never succumb to the challenges in front of us and give hope to the ones after us.