To my friends and neighbors

Editor:

I am going to try and be as concise as possible, so I will begin simply by articulating the idea that I want each of us to accept. Justice is a precondition for peace, and not the other way around. I write this because of the protests we are witnessing across the country. I am writing primarily to my fellow white community members. To be clear, I am not writing anything unique; people of color, and especially black people, have been telling us this for generations. Without justice, there cannot be peace.

In our communities, I have seen broad support for people protesting brutal police violence. However, among white people, I am beginning to see that support wane as protests continue. I see unsolicited advice coming from people both locally and nationally about how others should be protesting. How the protesters should be more reasonable. How they should be more “respectable.” How they should use the courts and politicians rather than the streets and people. How if the protesters would be more peaceful we could begin the work of creating greater justice. When we say these things we are renewing our privilege and protecting systemic white supremacy in this country, even if that is not our intention.

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