By Louise Marks
Restorative Justice Coordinator
Restorative Justice Project Maine
It shouldn't take video footage of George Floyd's murder to prove that this is wrong wrong wrong. I want to live to see a justice system/government/leadership that holds itself accountable to the communities it serves, seeing the inherent dignity and worth of ALL people regardless of the color of their skin, the $ in their pocket, their criminal background or history of substance use. I want people in power to share power equitably, to not abuse that power in discriminatory ways. I want law enforcement officers that aren't afraid of their communities and communities to not live in fear of law enforcement. I want law enforcement to be trained first and foremost as peacekeepers, to listen to their communities, and help people work through conflicts without resorting to violence.
I want to help make Maine--and this nation--a place that is welcoming to all people, and I feel grateful for all of the people in local law enforcement who show up to work each day with realness and humanity at the Reentry Center, the jail, and in the community at large. I feel grateful to participate in work that brings together both law enforcement and incarcerated/formerly system-involved people to talk about universal human experiences, breaking down stereotypes and stigmas. And there is more work to be done.
But most of all, in whatever ways, big and small, that I can fight against this sort of racism and desensitization to the violence towards and murder of people of color, I want to do that. I have this privilege and if I'm not using it for good, then I'm just as bad as the rest.
This is not ok.
George Floyd died just after 8pm this past Monday night, Memorial Day. Tonight at 8pm I'm going to light a candle in his honor and have a few minutes of silence. Join if you want, if you are so moved.