Commentary: Young people are leading the charge to change America

Commentary: Young people are leading the charge to change America
June 17
14:59 2020

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

The killing of George Floyd has brought about pain and anguish in the United States of America. People have taken to main streets and side streets to voice their dissent and discontent.

Protests are occurring all over the world from sea to shining sea. The blatant and total disregard for human life is at the root of these demonstrations.

African American men have been traumatized and stigmatized by the criminal justice system. The murder of George Floyd is the latest example.

I am a black man who is in the fourth quarter of my life and trying to get to overtime. I am from the South and have marched against racial injustice. I have experienced dogs growling and hate groups taunting. I still carry the images with me today.

That was a long time ago, yet America finds itself tormented by race even today. It is my opinion that race is the Achilles Heel of this country. Wraps do not work, and Band-Aids do not stay.

Is racism a permanent injury in America? It depends upon whom you ask. I believe the solution rests with young people of both races and all ethnicities.

Many people who do not look like me hold on to the vestiges of their old ways. They are unwilling to change and un-empathetic to racial reconciliation. 

Laws can only go so far. For example, white people have white privilege on their side. They were born with it, wake up with it, and take it for granted.

I was having a dialogue with a white man recently and he proclaimed to not know what white privilege is. Sometimes you cannot admit what you have.

Racism as we know it may end because an increasing number of white people get it. They understand that getting along is good for the country and is morally right. They are open and ready for change. They do not see me and others who look like me as the enemy. They want to reach out and we are reaching out, too.

Just observe the racial composition of these protests. There are a lot of young white folks saying that black lives matter. They are standing hand-in-hand saying enough is enough. They are raising the cry of Civil Rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer who said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Sooner than we think, America is going to be in the hands of another generation. I believe they will be more compassionate and be more passionate about dismantling barriers that have impeded racial progress.

The death of George Floyd has galvanized people in a way that I have not seen in a long time. There are those who believe this outpouring of caring is only temporary. Let me say unashamedly, they are wrong. Older white Americans, too, want a better America that is free of racism and injustice.

The demonstrations have been consistent throughout the country. Interesting that the president announced he would hold a political rally on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was originally scheduled for June 19, but was postponed because of the significance of June 19th to African Americans.

History tells us that Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in America. Union General Gordon Granger led troops to Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to announce the end of the Civil War and that slaves were free people.

The rally to be held by Mr. T will not overshadow the change that is occurring in America. A tidal wave of good will and reforms is rushing onto the shores of this country and it cannot be stopped.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at

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