President Arnold Sallie sent this letter to the members of the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend on Wednesday, June 10. The letter was written in response to the recent violent deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans.
As members of an organization of African-American men, we have been deeply wounded in spirit by the slaying of George Floyd. Once again, a black man has had his life snuffed out unjustly by people who are sworn to serve and protect us.
This hurts all the more because we are a mentoring organization, encouraging young black boys to believe in themselves and in their nation as a land of possibilities. “What they see,” we say, “is what they will be.” But the murder of George Floyd calls that statement and that belief into question.
Sadly, Mr. Floyd’s slaying is but the most recent instance of a black person having his life snatched away unjustly and for reasons that reek of racial injustice. The names of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky also lead a long litany of black victims of police or white vigilantes. That litany includes victims here in South Bend, most recently Eric Logan.
This historical pattern must be broken. If the protests and disturbances of the last two weeks carry any message, it is that these outrages must cease. Our nation is in pain. We all must come together as one America to ensure that every black and brown life is sacred and that every person is treated with dignity It must be so if our democracy is to survive and flourish. We cannot allow the festering wounds of hate and injustice to destroy us. We cannot wait any longer.
America, this is our time.
Thanks to an initiative by member Isaac Hunt, the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend and S.A.V.E. (Stand Against Violence Everyday in South Bend) joined forces recently to acquire and distribute hand sanitizer, latex gloves, and masks to barbershops in our blood pressure program.
The following information about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease comes from a physician whose daughter is an assistant professor in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. It was conveyed to the membership several weeks ago by Dr. Alfred Guillaume, chairman of the Education Committee.