#BlackLivesMatter: Featured Editorials

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News publishers across the country and around the world have long been witnesses to and reporters of historical moments and movements. As the eyes and ears of their communities, they report on what’s happening to keep their neighbors informed. While it is their duty to remain objective, news publishers can also use their platforms to support and promote social change. Journalists have been on the front lines of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and on the streets for the many protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd, and publishers have been speaking out within their pages, too. Over the coming weeks, the Alliance will feature an editorial or op-ed from a news publisher in our daily newsletter to members, dailyXchange, as well as here on our website.

The editorials shared here are just a sampling of some of the views of news publishers on the meaning, impact and message of the many protests that have surrounded George Floyd’s death and events that have followed.

The Austin American-Statesman, “Honor George Floyd with needed reforms” — “Floyd’s death has prompted a national conversation and spawned local reforms across the country, including efforts in Austin to reshape the role of police in the community. Abbott and state lawmakers have a pivotal role to play, too. Texans are watching to see whether those leaders move us forward or hold us back.”

Bangor Daily News, “Student experiences show racism is real in Bangor. There’s no excuse for inaction.” — “The need for action doesn’t fall solely to administrators and teachers. Parents must educate their children about the power of words and the dangers of racism, and yes, even other students have a responsibility as well to step in and step up for their classmates.”

Builder, “This Is Personal: For Home Builders, Black Lives Matter” — ” I feel the vertiginous nausea of a journalist, one given a voice and an audience, and a responsibility to affirm, to challenge, and to offer ideas to that audience, who’s been caught, and is unquestionably, unequivocally guilty of “being part of the problem.” Complicit. If I am not antiracist in action, editorial direction, contribution of value to my firm, and leadership among staffers, then the only logical alternative is that I work collusively with a systemically racist status quo.”

Chicago Tribune, “After George Floyd’s killing, make America a better place” — “To make America a better place requires every bit of energy the country can muster: intolerance of discrimination and bias, commitments to teach and listen in order to break down barriers, a focus on economic opportunity and education in African American neighborhoods to address inequality. It’s a long list.”

The Columbus Dispatch, “Social-media lies feed real-life violence, injustice” — “Recent weeks’ protests and demonstrations in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement have been real-life lessons in the menace posed by rumor-mongering and lying on social media. Ohio, unfortunately, was home to at least two examples that gained national attention – not the good kind.”

The Columbus Dispatch, “Protests will continue until progress begins” — “The overdue reckoning is why people continue to take to the streets day after day, demanding racial justice and reform in policing. For those who wonder why the protesters continue — for those who say, “It’s all anyone’s talking about, haven’t they made their point?” — it would help to consider the perspective of Black and brown people, for whom the issue of racially based police brutality is not an abstract social problem but a very real threat to life and limb that never ends.”

The Denver Post, “Bring down symbols of hate” — “If Americans are going to live up to the ideals – equality and basic human rights — put forward by the men who pushed aside monarchy in favor of self-governance 244 years ago, we must be as open to change as our founding fathers were in their time.”

Houston ChronicleAs George Floyd is laid to rest in Houston, say their names” — “Unarmed African Americans have been dying at the hands of police in the United States for centuries. At times, police have acted in self defense or with other legal justification, and at other times, they haven’t – as in the shocking case of the Minneapolis officer with his knee on the neck of George Floyd.”

Houston Chronicle, “Want to be an antiracist? Check your white fragility.” — “The recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the vigilante ambush of Ahmaud Arbery have apparently sparked a moment of national introspection. If you have been curious about what all these protests are about, these books can be a good place to start.”

Iowa City Press-Citizen, “Coming together for the love of country” — “After the demonstrations dissipate, we must keep the pressure on our local, state and federal governments state, federal officials and legislatures, and vote accordingly to continue in this journey toward honoring our own Constitution and make America once again the beacon of light that the world strives to emulate.”

The Morning Journal, “Racism is a public health issue” — “Racism is a huge problem in our society, but a host of Lorain County elected officials deserve credit for addressing the issue by declaring it a public health crisis.”

The Neshoba Democrat, “Flag vote the right thing” — “Sunday’s vote was a historic and unifying day for Mississippi with a rare bipartisanship emerging to propel the Legislature’s stunning vote to change the flag, a move few had imagined possible a week earlier.”

The New Tri-State Defender, “Time to accelerate toward change!” — “It’s fitting and proper to honor Mr. Floyd and every other African American killed while doing nothing threatening. Justice must proceed in all specific incidents while measures are developed and put in place to dismantle the systemic practices spitting out the disproportionate treatment that – in worse-case scenarios – kills people.”

The Philadelphia Tribune, “Celebrate Juneteenth now more than ever” — “This year’s celebration may resonate in new ways, given the sweeping changes and widespread protests across the country. The holiday takes special significance as African-Americans grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other African Americans this year.”

The Philadelphia Tribune, “School district right to pursue anti-racism initiative” — “Locally, students, parents and teachers in the School District of Philadelphia are demanding change as demonstrated on this page in short essays written by students taught by Aubrey Stewart, an 8th-grade teacher at Feltonville School of Arts and Science in Philadelphia.”

The Post and Courier, “Together, we can turn passion over George Floyd into real change” — “From city halls to the U.S. Capitol, the death of Mr. Floyd could be a watershed moment that ushers in commonsense reforms that until now have stalled out. Any success on that front won’t carry a guarantee against bad policing. … But we can and should institute reforms to reduce the likelihoood of those events, and bring about swifter justice when they occur.”

The Press Democrat, “Black Lives Matter — saying so can make it a reality” — “To say Black lives matter is to call for human dignity, for Black lives to be valued in the same way that white lives already are. It’s a demand for equal treatment under the law. It’s a plea for African Americans to be allowed to work, play, travel and sleep without fearing for their lives or the lives of their children.”

The Register-Herald, “Presumed innocent, and dead” by John Grisham — “Twenty years ago, the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks at the hands of white policemen would have led to loud protests by their families and friends, and the usual ensuing investigations that would find little fault. With time their stories would have faded away as their families sought, in vain, justice. Civil suits for their wrongful deaths would have (and may still) cost the taxpayers millions, not a penny of whichever comes from the police on the scene.”

The Roanoke Times, “Republicans didn’t put up Confederate monuments so why do some oppose bringing them down?” — “To be historically accurate, Republicans should be leading the charge to bring down Confederate monuments — lawfully, of course. Why? Because that would help complete the work that the Republican Party was founded on.”

San Antonio Express-News, “An urgency to complete emancipation of Juneteenth” — “This Juneteenth should be celebrated in joy, but also with the fierce urgency of purpose. How can we best use this moment, this movement and the spirit of George Floyd to finally prove Sam Cooke right that “A Change Is Gonna Come”?”

San Antonio Express-News, “Challenges are great for our nation; so is our hope” — “For all the violence on the streets, for all the trauma in our medical centers, we see remarkable compassion and solidarity, white policemen kneeling with black protesters. Health officials risking their own lives to save the lives of others. Our similarities are more profound than our differences.”

Santa Fe New Mexican, “The time for a reckoning on race is here” — “Black lives matter. Because of that movement, there’s growing attention to lives of Natives and Hispanos in the Southwest, two peoples who have coexisted — in peace and at war — for more than 400 years in our corner of the world.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “NASCAR still has work to do to eliminate its image as a racist safe zone” — “Some defenders of the flag and statues of Confederate generals insist that these relics have nothing to do with slavery, discrimination and ongoing abuses against Blacks. But the Talladega display made clear that racist sympathies still abound among the NASCAR community.”

Star Tribune, “American Indians see change coming” — “A football team finally discards a despised and derogatory name, and the U.S. Supreme Court unexpectedly holds Congress to account for promises more than a century old. These two decisions, one symbolic, one legal, should provide some genuine hope that despite so many challenges, society is capable of positive change.”

The Tribune-Democrat, “Young people ready to lead us forward” — “While it’s often said that the youth are our future, too often they are left outside important decisions – or choose to keep themselves out by not volunteering, participating and voting. But we are seeing a shift in the attitudes of young people inspired by a health crisis, a social movement and a looming national election. Teens and young adults in our region – and across the nation – are standing up for their beliefs, moving to the front and encouraging others to do the same.”

USA Today, “Black lives matter: We must live up to Declaration of Independence’s promise” — “The United States will mark July 4 — our Independence Day — against a backdrop of crisis. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its assault on our nation and our world, we have embarked on a national reckoning on racial equity following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and all of the Black people who have died unjustly in our country. We believe that reckoning could benefit from the nuanced principles laid out in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence.”

The Washington Informer, “Support for Black Press Grows with Black Journalism Fund” — “If there was ever a time when the Black Press needs to be front and center, it is now. We report the stories and interpret their meaning.”

WBAL-TV 11, “Conversations about race” — “Some may say, this is not a dinnertime discussion, but we at WBAL-TV maintain that it is an anytime discussion. Be it with your family or your inner circle of friends, have a serious talk around the table, an uncomfortable one.”

To read more editorials we think deserve your attention, click the below tweet to find our Twitter thread of more than 50 editorials, op-eds and articles about #BlackLivesMatter and related issues. The thread is updated regularly, as more thought-provoking editorials come out.

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