June 1, 2020
This morning, Joel Stern and John Murdock shared some important words and perspectives with the NAMWOLF Team, and we felt this exchange should be shared with a larger audience.
From: Joel Stern, NAMWOLF CEO: “Words normally flow easily for me, but for some reason not now, but I feel the need to emote. Both the Christopher Cooper and George Floyd incidents last week are not anomalies, but happen every day in our country. They show how unequal our justice system is and how it impacts minorities, and specifically Blacks, in a very different way. I often cite my African American friend’s story about how she has to talk to her sons every time they get in a car and drive and what to do if stopped by a policeman. She asked me if I had to do that with my girls and of course I said “no.” Yes – I’m privileged. I’m not proud or upset by it, but it is something I must appreciate so I can better understand what it is like to start steps behind for no reason other than the color of my skin, my gender and/or my sexual orientation. Her story reminds me of the need to listen and hear the stories and be better educated on how different and unfair it is to be a Black in America. I am sad, hurt, upset, anxious and angry. Silence is not acceptable. No time to be on the sidelines. We must all embrace the Black Lives Matter movement if we truly want to change things for the better. Yes, we will make mistakes and say the wrong things, but we have no other choice. The NAMWOLF Team will be talking about how this is impacting all of us at our next team meeting. Life is too short and precious for all of us.”
From: John Murdock, NAMWOLF Board Chair: “A difficult time indeed. I have been on the phone with my 6 foot 5 son who lives in Columbus, Ohio and am the parent of two sons both of whom have had that conversation with mom and dad for their entire lives. It takes a great deal of inner fortitude not to let anger be the motive force and every time there is an incident of this type whether involving death or injury or improper stop or arrest it does not get easier to be thoughtful and peaceful in thinking through the best response. That said, violence, anger and hate never have and never will finally resolve any problem. It is both good to see solidarity from a diverse group of Americans (and those from other countries), and bothersome that because of my race, I should need to be defended or protected for engaging in the normal course of daily life, and when on those occasions an African American does something that warrants an arrest, to be concerned that it may result in death or brutality. It will take the voices and determination of so many people who don’t think they have a role or a stake to engage in order to make the slow and arduous change in policing in this country and address racial inequity. I am glad that the NAMWOLF Team will take the time to support one another as this affects us all and is affecting all of you and your communities and people you know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joel.”