To the Editor:

I encourage anyone who safely can to join in the Black Lives Matter marches.

Saturday, as the enormous masked crowd marched through Sylva, I felt a sense of change. I felt a sense of awakening drifting along in the street as white people stood with blacks calling for justice. All demographics were there to demonstrate their hope for a fair America. Our black fellow Americans who have suffered for generations and in so many ways, are finally being seen and heard by white America. And white America is now ready to see their past.

Google “History of Public Policing” and see that in the South, in 1704, Slave Patrols originated to find and return runaway slaves. At the end of the Civil War (1865) the KKK formally started and during Reconstruction many local sheriffs were members of the Klan and enforced segregation and disenfranchisement. In 2006 the FBI warned of white supremacy groups infiltrating police departments. There is little wonder that black lives are taken freely.

Black Lives Matter.

I asked a man why he has the Confederate flag on his truck, and he replied that it was his heritage.

Today many people are taking a closer look at that heritage.

A heritage that is steeped in slavery and terrorism of black people. A heritage that began and lost a war with the United States. A heritage that insisted upon honoring those who supported slavery and all its evils by erecting statues that are now coming down. A heritage that did not foresee the compassion of later generations to finally rise up and demand that racial justice and equality prevail.

If you can, join a march, write, call or text your legislators and law enforcement. Let your voice in any form be heard. Express your desire that police racial injustice end now; that however the assault to African Americans can be rectified, we start now.

Stay informed and read about the history of our country. Then, with compassion, let’s all love it and try to make it better together.

Dottie Hoche,

Sylva