This statement shouldn’t be controversial, but I have discovered that there is a lot of resistance to the idea.

I joined the Black Lives Matter march in Fairplay and I posted a last minute notice about it on our “Guffey Shares” email group.

I received more emails from people who disagreed with the statement than I did those who supported it. Was this because the people who disagree are more vocal than the people who support it? I can only hope so.

Statistics show that the majority of Americans support Black Lives Matter. What about Park County? About 60 people showed up for the march, which is a lot considering it was in the middle of a work day and very last minute.

While marching and chanting, “I can’t breathe” we passed someone who said, “I’ve got some oxygen.” This person was being funny but beneath the humor was a disrespect for black lives. While we chanted “Black Lives Matter” a man in a truck (advertising his business) shouted “bullshit.”

We were escorted by Sheriff’s deputies and now I think it was for our safety. I was grateful for their protection. I know there are racists in Park County; they are loud and they are proud. I want to hear from the people who support Black Lives Matter. Be loud and proud that you are an anti-racist.

When the Black Lives Matter event was posted on social media groups for South Park, there were plenty of negative comments.

The main argument is that all lives matter. Of course all lives matter, no one is saying they don’t. The argument that all lives matter is a denial of the discrimination against people of color that is systemic in law enforcement across the country.

Black Americans have been killed by police at more than twice the rate that white Americans have. In recent years, these killings have been caught on video. The videos are shocking but result in few changes, and the killings continue at the same rate.

While writing this article I saw a video of another black man dying while being stopped by Sheriff’s deputies in Williamson County, Texas.

Javier Ambler was being chased by police for 20 minutes because he didn’t dim his lights. He was having a heart attack and again they insisted on handcuffing him, tasering him and sitting on him while he told them he had a heart condition and couldn’t breathe.

Something has to change. It was all caught on the body cam but the county’s Sheriff’s office concluded that the deputies did nothing wrong. We must speak out and demand change.

One of the signs at a protest on the East Coast was held by a group of Quakers. It said “End White Silence.”  If anything is going to change, white people need to speak up. You and I need to speak up. The people who are least affected by watching black Americans die are the ones who can make change.

Black people have been speaking up for decades and nothing changes. If you agree that black lives matter, are you speaking up? Those against it are, and very aggressively. This is not a political issue, it’s a human issue. If your religious beliefs tell you to love everyone then you need to speak up. It might take courage when you don’t know the response you’ll get but the more you say it the stronger you will feel.

I ask that anyone reading this send me an email to say that “black lives matter.” That’s an easy start. Then you can try saying it on your social media page, then to your friends, then maybe at a march. I need to believe that although the majority of residents of Park County are Republicans, the majority are not racist. Please prove me right.

You can email me at chair@parkdems.org and please visit the “Black Lives Matter” web page at blacklivesmatter.com.

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