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How can we flatten the racism curve?

DEAR EDITOR:

Nationwide protests have exploded in the shadow of an already national pandemic crisis in necessary sympathy for the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Black Lives Matter, not a new slogan, is served again, fairly, in chants and signs.

Many of us agree with the sentiment and support their reform demands; let it be noted, however, that the spirit of the Black Lives Matter message measures a larger Christian and human truth, that all lives matter.

I admit, of course, that black lives are more at risk in terms of violence of all forms, police or community, but loss of life is a shared colorless burden.

A Washington Post editorial (May 26) offered the grim statistic that 1,099 people were killed in 2019 by police. Yes, blacks bear an outsized percentage of those killings, 24 percent — twice their population percentage. Nevertheless, more than 800 of those deaths were other than black. Again, I emphasize, all these lives mattered.

By way of comparison, reflect with me on our nationwide challenge to the dreaded COVID-19 virus. Our nation’s governors and city leaders came together, shared resources, adopted stringent measures (stay home, social distancing, masks) to contest virus infection surges on the co-equal premise that everybody’s life matters regardless of county, city, party, neighborhood, age, sex or race.

When it was revealed in Ohio that the black community was experiencing a disproportionate level of infection and death, as were seniors with other conditions in assisted living / nursing home communities, committees were formed and experts consulted to begin the search for corrective measures. So should it be with police killings. All lives matter.

We flattened the curve with COVID. We have not defeated the virus, but as the curve continues to flatten, we save additional lives. Maybe your own. Black, white, brown, yellow, red or even Dorothy’s horse of a different color (from the Wizard of Oz), All Lives Matter.

JIM VILLANI

Youngstown

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