Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Dr. Martin Luther King
As a young person growing up, the teachings of Dr. King had a major influence on my life. Dr. King was an unparalleled leader in a tumultuous time in American history leading the way for the civil rights of Black Americans at a time when racism was even more insidious and overt. Dr. King spoke not only against racial inequality but for all forms of social injustice. Most importantly, Dr. King promoted non-violent methods of protest to get his message of freedom to all of humanity heard. Only love can drive out hate.
Recent events have shed light on the fact that our nation, as a whole, has not successfully dealt with its race-related problems. In its most naked form, we saw George Floyd's life cut short by a thug wearing a cop's uniform. A clear example of a person of power using his badge to impart his will on unarmed innocence. Nothing could be more repulsive.
The peaceful demonstration of the Black Lives Matter movement has shown our nation and the world that we must root out the areas of American society that need a complete overhaul regarding racial inequality. It speaks to not only those in law enforcement but to our media, corporate America, elected officials at all levels of government, and yes, in Fire/EMS. To those who overtly promote racism and to those who do so in secret. Your island is getting smaller.
What about the good people of our communities? What about the good members of law enforcement that strap on their boots every day and put their lives on the line to protect our community? All those good officers who care about transparency and de-escalation. The ones who make a living out of protecting our citizens regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I have heard it said, “No one despises a bad cop more than a good cop.” In my seventeen years in Fire and EMS and working with members of law enforcement, I can say that it is a true statement. We have witnessed, and continue to witness, law enforcement officers save lives protecting our community, sometimes at the expense of their own.
Assuredly our statements here may draw criticism from those who choose to promote extremism. Dr. King famously stated in his 1963 book “Strength to Love”, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The Firefighters of Local 106 stand united with the peaceful message of the Black Lives Matter movement AND our Law Enforcement Brothers and Sisters dedicated to honorably protecting our community. Together, and only together, we can make the sweeping changes that our Nation needs.