1. Opinion

As a middle-aged black woman, I’m broken-hearted and weary | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.

Police, protesters share views | June 4

Change is possible

I am sitting at my kitchen table, broken-hearted and weary. As a middle-aged black woman who loves my son, my nephews and many black men in my family and circle of friends, I am tired of quelling my fear when they say they are going out late or traveling.

The continuous stream of black people killed by white Americans who are either angry, frightened, hostile, ill-trained, trigger-happy, blinded by their sense of superiority or some combination of all of these factors is weighing my soul down. These white Americans are clothed in real or imaginary police uniforms and their sense for the need to control, put down, obliterate and deny the humanity of the black citizens whom they have stalked, chased, apprehended, suspected and judged is beyond belief.

I think that the majority of Americans want to reach a place where race would no longer limit our lives. Police training about implicit bias is a step towards fair treatment. Repeal of stand your ground laws, the prohibition of chokeholds, the prohibition of brutal restraint and changing the shoot-to-kill training are also needed. In addition, the swift and appropriate prosecution of police officers who fail to adhere to proper use of force will go a long way to limiting these terrifying displays of discriminatory treatment.

When the police chiefs and prosecutors run for office, they need to be questioned about these matters and held accountable for their answers and their actions. If we really desire to bring about systemic change, reach for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dreams, and honor George Floyd’s life and death, we can take specific actions together. We can force these changes with our votes. Elections matter!

Cecile Scoon, Panama City

The writer is the first vice president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Systemic racism

But first, an apology

Every store that requires its employees and anyone else to thank us for our service should also require those people to apologize to African-Americans for the way this country has treated them for almost 250 years.

James Dina, Dunedin

A lifetime later, we’re still asking | June 2

Hope is not gone

The irony of the rallying cry, “I can’t breathe,” following the murders of Eric Garner and now George Floyd, with far too many in between, should not be lost on us. Are we watching the demise of hope right before our very eyes? The awakening of scores of everyday citizens across this city, state, country and even the world should serve as an emphatic and unambiguous, “No!”

The rising tide has not lifted all boats. Kindness is not a replacement for policy prescriptions to heal these festering wounds. As frustrated and exhausted as I, and many others are, our commitment to each other should not be abandoned. The NAACP, Tampa Organization for Black Affairs, the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, 100 Black Women of Tampa Bay, 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay, the Urban League of Hillsborough County, members of the Divine Nine, the Black and African American Chambers of Commerce, and other organizations throughout our region have for years sought to answer the black community’s most pressing questions. Now is the time for listening, for community conversations to be had, for genuine partnerships to form, and for intentional actions to be taken.

Many of the disparities facing black and brown communities happened because of systematic and structural racism and collective silence and acquiescence from its beneficiaries. So hear this: It’s okay to see color—in fact, it’s necessary to right wrongs and to build bridges to equity and progress.

Nicholas Glover, Tampa

Yeah, but... | Column, May 31

Politicians should listen

"It is about our being divided perhaps beyond repair. And we are all to blame," writes Stephen Buckley in this piece. [ Ron Borresen ]

Stephen Buckley’s column on Sunday hit the nail on the head. It’s about listening, really listening, not pretending to hear. Wouldn’t it be nice if politicians on both sides would take time to espouse the sentiment expressed? Maybe we’d progress.

Bruce Geer, Indian Shores

Protests remain mostly peaceful; Tampa mayor shouted down | June 3

I don’t understand it

Kim Dixon salutes protesters marching on the MacArthur Bridge across the Detroit River during a rally in Detroit, June 5, 2020 over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) [ PAUL SANCYA | AP ]

As a former police officer in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s, during all the unrest I witnessed, I can’t seem to understand what is happening today in our society. It seems there are a certain number of police officers employed in law enforcement that should not be in that field of employment.

I truly understand the movement today and the frustration that is happening today. But causing the damage that I have witnessed and shooting police officers is not the answer.

Ray Lewis, Dunedin

Trump tour a convention alternative? | May 30

We see through you

In this July 21, 2016, file photo Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center left, walks with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. [ MATT ROURKE | AP ]

So President Donald Trump wants to move the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina because of a tiff with the state’s Democratic governor. Sure, wink, wink. Just another shiny object so Trump can get the convention to Florida where he can benefit his businesses here, in lockstep with his hand-picked governor. Does he think we cannot see through this?

John Tischner, Dunedin

Oh no you didn’t | Column, June 2

I don’t understand it

In this Oct. 16, 1968 file photo, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos raise their gloved fists after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. [ Associated Press (1968) ]

John Romano’s column made me think about how many athletes, coaches and team owners have been cautious to speak out or have not done so at all. Like it or not, high-paid athletes and coaches are modern-day warriors and heroes. It seems to me that these heroes, more than politicians or journalists, are more often the voices many of us hear most clearly when injustices are obvious and require change. They have the ability to transform from heroes to leaders when they opine on injustices that require public demonstrations. Yes, we need to hear the voices of our heroes when their opinions match mine.

Charles Gonzalez, St. Petersburg