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AT THE CORNER OF COWARDICE AND COURAGEā€¦

By Cassandra Hayes, Pres. Angel Principle Consulting

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.  One in a long series of stories/headlines which include:

- Driving while Black (Sandra Bland)
- Bird Watching while Black (Jason Ward)
- Selling water while Black (8 yr. old Jordan Rodgers)
- Waiting while Black (Donte Robinson, Starbucks)
- Jogging while Black (Ahmaud Arbery)
- Napping while Black (Yale Student, Lolade Siyonbola)
- Renting while Black (Airbnb guest, Donisha Prendergas)
- Sleeping while Black (Breonna Taylor)*

I thank God for cell phones which provided video of each of these episodes. These incidents, culminating with the horrific murder of George Floyd, have sparked global protests, outrage, and renewed calls for racial justice. 

At the intersection of courage and cowardice, where do you stand?

For those who are wondering what can I do, my answer is, BECOME AN ALLY.  As a white person, use your power and privilege. Hire and promote People Of Color, callout bias and prejudice, welcome People of Color into your traditional white spaces (board rooms, universities, suburbs, associations).  Be our internal salespeople; recommend us, sponsor us, mentor us, defend us, and yes, most importantly now, VOTE FOR US.

In addition to daily examples of discrimination, Covid has amplified long-standing racial disparities in health care, water and air pollution, education, policing and now, voter rights.  I’m eternally grateful to the amazing and fearless White people who, realizing the privilege and power of their whiteness, join protests, walk in solidarity, and speak out in front of friends, neighbors, and cameras. At the corner of courage and cowardice, these folks have chosen which side of the Black Lives Matter debate they fall on.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just upped the ante on the debate and your vote.  No vacancy at the Supreme Court occurring so close to a presidential election in American history has been filled by Senate vote before the election. **

With less than 40 days to one of the most important elections of our lifetime, every effort is being made to suppress your vote.  The most effective and chilling is the notion that your vote makes no difference and doesn’t count.  The disinformation and lies about widespread voter fraud have already impacted voter turnout.

Again, we stand at the corner of courage and cowardice.

Where will YOU stand?

*CNN Living While Black12/28/2018

**New York Times 9/19/2020

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