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  • Writer's pictureJames B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D.

Hate And Racism Have Struck Again. This Time, It Was in Jacksonville Florida

Hate is traveling around America. It does not discriminate regarding city, time or location. Its venomous head shows up and people are killed. The tragedy is that citizens are assaulted simply because they are Black. I am Black and I know that when I am in some stores there are people who don’t want me there. Not wanting me there because I am Black but killing me there because I am

Black leaves me sick and sad.


On Saturday, August 26th, a gunman entered a Dollar General store in Jacksonville Florida and killed 3 African Americans. The gunman who was White made it clear through messages to his family that he was going to commit this horrific act. He did and now families are tragically torn apart.


The shooter, Ryan Palmeter later took his own life which was a demented way of saying I did my job. He lived in nearby Clay County. We can only speculate as to where and how someone of another race learns to hate the other race. Is racism boiling over in America these days? There is a strong case to be made to say that it is. For example, Florida and its leadership have created barriers and roadblocks for its Black citizens. Recently, the NAACP advised African Americans not to travel to the “Sunshine State”. Leaders, like Ron DeSantis, governor of the state, have said that slavery had some intrinsic and meritorious value for Black people.


The folks there in positions of power who I call DeSantis minions have lost their minds and won’t acknowledge their history. It is also obvious that they don’t want our children to

know their history. They want to minimize it and sweep it under the rug of ignorance. These are my opinions.


The victims in this mind-numbing tragedy were taken from us without warning. The suddenness of it makes me weak. They were killed simply because they were living while Black. Angela Carr, Anolt Laguerre, Jr., and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion will never see another sunrise or sunset. Church pews where they sat will be empty and family gathering places will have one less seat.


The Jacksonville Sheriff, TK Waters has called the shooting a racist act. He said, “His sickening ideology is not representative of the values of this Jacksonville community that we all love so

much.” He added, “We are not a community of hate.”


The mayor of Jacksonville, Donna Deegan said, “We have to talk about hate. Obviously, I am heartbroken over this incident. We need common-sense gun legislation.”


Some years ago, I served in a senior leadership position at Edward Waters College, now University. I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure there as I had some wonderful and time-honored experiences with students, faculty and staff.


EWU as it is affectionately called is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). It has strong academic and student life programs and services. It was founded in 1866 by members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a school to educate freedmen and their children.


Thankfully, the EWU police acted quickly to remove the shooter from the campus. If not, you can only imagine what could have happened.


How do you stop hate? How do you stop senseless acts of racial violence?


These are questions that have been on the minds of many for many years. I believe some solutions rest in the laws that we can make if we have the will to do so. One solution is to ban the sale of AR-15 style weapons.


Until that type of legislation happens, we will sit by and have vigils for lost lives who are gone too soon because of people who don’t like the color of our skin.

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