Saturday, September 26, 2020

Letters

A Simple Plea

There have been many letters from the good people of Guilford defending Black Lives Matter (BLM) signs, but as the widow of an African American and mother of a Black son, I thought I might add some personal experiences.

I recently put a BLM sign in front of the house. It meant to say nothing negative about policing in general. Our local police were extraordinarily kind to my son Justin when he was 16 and they found marijuana in a hidden sports bag—with his name printed on it. They gave him just a warning, no doubt partly out of respect for his father.

When Justin wanted to drive through the South pursuing musical interests, we worried more than when he had traveled to Senegal alone two years before. We gave him the talk about being very polite. He dealt with police three times: at a women’s college where he’d parked to sleep, in New Orleans when he was stopped for driving too slow in a school zone (who knew that was illegal?), and a third time even more obviously for driving while Black. He was told to get out of his car while it was searched, then a second police car arrived and he was forced to strip naked by the side of a public road. Thankfully they stopped at humiliation.

My Black Lives Matter sign was stolen within a week. Someone probably saw it as a political statement rather than a simple plea for justice, an attitude of fairness toward all races that many in both parties, like my Republican brother and sister, share. I have ordered enough signs to last through the fall, even if each only remains a week.

Gwen Gunn

Guilford