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"We can rebuild a building. We cannot rebuild a human."

Generally, here on Dear Evanston, I only post pieces specific to Evanston or written by or about Evanston residents. But yesterday I read three compelling articles that I encourage all white people to read.

Of course there are MANY, MANY articles, books, blogs, and podcasts about race and racism (we read many such books in the Dear Evanston Racial Justice Book Group), but these three articles are current and compelling.

The first, by Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke, reiterates that it is NOT enough to shake our heads in horror at each violent act against Black bodies and go on with our lives until the next and then the next incident once again raises our anger and disbelief for a brief few days. It is incumbent on each of us to learn about and understand the root causes of systemic and daily racism in this country and we must make it our work to address them.

"Each tragedy pulls back the curtain on a cultural crime scene few do more than glance at — we walk away from the scene, unsettled but unwilling to do the hard work of solving the crime," he writes.

The second is a column by Tribune columnist Mary Schmich that calls on leaders to speak out forcefully and fast against racial injustice.

"The sickness of structural racism extends far beyond police forces. But it’s in situations involving police that the violence inherent in American racism is most vivid. The fact that we need the police complicates finding a cure," she says.

"And the police we need most desperately? Those brave enough to speak the truth. We need the ones like Chicago’s new police chief, David Brown, who is black, who said the other day: 'What took place in Minneapolis earlier this week is absolutely reprehensible and tarnished the badge nationwide, including here in Chicago.'

We need the ones like Kristen Ziman, the white police chief in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, who tweeted: “People of color are outraged. White people are outraged. Any cop who doesn’t feel the same should get out of our profession.”

If we’re ever going to beat this sickness, we need leaders in every realm — in politics, schools, health care — who understand its deep history, or at least try to. We need leaders who can speak frankly but with control, who help us think clearly."

The third is a powerful story in the New York Times of a Minneapolis restaurant owner, Ruhel Islam, whose building was seriously damaged by fire during the protests on Thursday night.

Although Islam, who is from Bangladesh, believes in nonviolent protest (he named his restaurant Gandhi Mahal, after Mahatma Gandhi), he said he empathized with the protesters. His daughter, who said she was initially angry at the protesters for damaging the restaurant, had a change of heart.

“At first, I was angry,” said Ms. Islam, 18. “This is my family’s main source of income.”

But then she overheard her father, Ruhel Islam, 42, speaking to a friend on the phone. “Let my building burn,” he said. “Justice needs to be served. We can rebuild a building, but we cannot rebuild a human, The community is still here, and we can work together to rebuild.”


Read Rex Hupke here.

Read Mary Schmich here.

Read about Ruhel Islam here.


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