President Pelton’s community message following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for George Floyd’s death was republished by WBUR’s ideas and opinion site Cognoscenti.
Pelton eloquently explains why he is not celebrating: “My fear is that congratulatory celebration may lead to complacency — a complacency that does not fully acknowledge that George Floyd’s death is not new. There have been and will be many George Floyds in our future. This we know: There will be more killings before Memorial Day, the first anniversary of his death.”
He concludes his message with wise words from former U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings:
We see — with spirits made heavy by human suffering — the deep fissures of race and poverty that, like specters at dawn, haunt our nation’s conscience. Who among us can sing today without bitter irony the song of America’s beauty?
My country ’tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty;
Of thee I sing …
Who can sing this song with pride as we watch in horror — over and over again — the legions of Black men and boys, their bodies torn asunder by fear and hate?
This is a time for reflection and resolve, of true bravery and courage. A time to confront, head-on, hate, fear and ignorance in all of their various forms and manifestations.
These killings must stop.
As U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings reminded us while he was still among us: “C’mon now, we’re better than this.”
Yes, we are. Yes, we must be.