- - Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I start by saying I am truly sorry about the senseless murders of New York Police Department Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. This tragedy did not need to happen. And my heart goes out to the families, friends and fellow cops who are mourning. But my heart goes out to the families who have lost their young black sons, too, when they did not need to.

My heart goes out to Sylvia Palmer, Samaria Rice, Gwen Carr, Wanda Johnson, Kadiatou Diallo, Valerie Bell and so on. My focus is about honoring the mothers who have lost their young black sons way too early in their lives, and for the wrong reasons. Actually, there were no reasons for them to have died.

There is a true misunderstanding about what the Justice for All marchers are saying and asking for. I know this because I am one of the marchers. I am an American, I am a New Yorker, I am a human being who has personally lost a loved one to police brutality. I have not marched at all during the time of mourning for the slain officers. However, I will resume when I feel it is right, because the voices of every American, every New Yorker, must be heard, and a dialogue must be created between the cops and the community.

Change must happen. Policies must be reviewed. Mothers cannot bury their young black sons anymore. I feel for the mothers of Officer Ramos and Officer Liu — no mother should bury their sons. On both sides. We need to stop and listen to one other and realize the intense damage that has been done over the decades of history across our country.

We have an actual chance to right the wrong here. When I see cops and community members working together, having dialogue, supporting and respecting, it warms my heart 10 times over. It has been done. These relationships are rare, but they are out there, and we need them to be infectious and spread across the nation.



Mourning is present now, anger is bubbling, and we need to calm ourselves and reconnect and make the change happen, together. This is what I wish for. This is why I march. I believe this is the time we can all make the change for a healthier relationship between cops and community.

DIANA BARNETT

New York

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