I was in Washington, D.C., when 14th Street burned following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Like many of us, I went on to witness more riots and rampages when other outrages against black men and women sparked that desperate need to take to the streets to say, “Listen to us! Stop this!” Now it’s happening again. On June 1, I watched as, only blocks from my office, rubber bullets and tear gas were used against peaceful protesters trying to exercise their First Amendment rights by holding signs and chanting outside the White House. A few days later, I found myself marching yet again.
Perhaps other quietly executed presidential acts should come as no surprise when, instead of condemning the police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck until he died — calling for his mother and pleading that he couldn’t breathe — and instead of expressing empathy for those seeking an end to racial injustice, the president condemned the protesters and called out the military. I say that because, last month, the president legalized acts of violence against others who have committed the “crime” of not only failing to be born white but also failing to be born human.
The Trump administration not only reversed police reform advanced by President Barack Obama, but has rolled back that president’s protection of federal lands and wildlife. A new ruling allows hunters in Alaska — mostly privileged white men like Donald Trump’s trophy-hunting sons, who kill for the sheer pleasure of it — to lure black bears, including mothers and their cubs, out of their dens with artificial light; to use bait to attract black and brown bears; to hunt wolves and coyotes during the denning season; and to shoot caribou while they’re swimming or from motorboats.