In #RaiseMKE Commentary

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a must-read piece on the protests of the past week. (PHOTO: WikiCommons)

Read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's op-ed on the George Floyd protests

Over the past week, protests erupted in major cities across the country – including Milwaukee – over the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, as well as the countless police-involved killings of black men and women that came before without justice. Many of these peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, and the reporters covering said events, were met with escalation and violence from local police, who met voices against the brutality of black people with more brutality.

It's been an intense week of news, and it's understandable to feel overwhelmed, to feel numbed by its relentlessness and shifting updates. The very least one can do is listen – to understand other people's experiences, to understand that they may be different than yours and to learn.

In that vein, former Bucks great and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an important op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. Published on Saturday evening, the piece attempts to explain the historical context, to explain that these gatherings are happening even in the midst of a pandemic because "the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19" and to explain the accumulated anger and outrage that's led to this week's countrywide events.

"Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don't want to see stores looted or even buildings burn," Abdul-Jabbar writes. "But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible – even if you're choking on it – until you let the sun in. Then you see it's everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it's always still in the air."

It's thoughtful and must-read piece on these ground-shaking times, trying to explain emotions and feelings that many have been privileged to not understand, so have a read at this link. And for a more localized perspective, here's a YouTube video of several Milwaukee black leaders speaking to the ongoing protests in the city.

Be safe, be smart and be strong, Milwaukee.


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