Jacksonville Shooting Highlights Need to Continue the Work of Racial Reconciliation and Repair
On Saturday, August 26th, a gunman targeted and killed three people specifically because they were African American. This is another one of the countless shootings which occurred this year already, but tragically comes on a time of remembrance for civil rights history.
This attack came juxtaposed on a historically symbolic day for civil rights, where JACL joined hundreds of thousands of advocates in honor of the 1963 March on Washington which featured Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. This year's theme, “A Continuation not a Commemoration” is a renewed commitment to build a nation that lives up to its ideals – one that protects and values Black lives. Following this act of racialized violence, this theme could not hold more truth toward the need to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy in all forms.
Just as a quarter million Americans led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first marched against segregation 60 years ago, this year’s march both memorialized and advocated for the continuance of the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work against anti-Blackness, segregation, and white supremacy.
In the 60 years since the March's beginning, our country's legacy of racism continues to harm, disenfranchise, and claim the lives of Black individuals at the hands of hate-fueled violence. In addition to revealing our country's longstanding history of anti-Blackness, the shooting also underscored the critical need to ban assault weapons.
The intersection of racism and gun violence is resulting in dire consequences. This is particularly true in a state such as Florida which has passed laws to enable and embolden gun owners to brazenly turn to gun violence as their first option. This mixed with a series of policy changes targeting multicultural and particularly African American communities, incidents such as this are frighteningly more likely to happen. We must do better as a nation if we are to make true on the hopes and dreams of the past.