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The vote, not the fist, will unseat Trump

I am a retired public school superintendent, and have been blessed to influence the life chances of America’s urban youths numbering in the hundred of thousands. It is disturping to watch the senseless lost of lives of thousands of young Americans, especially African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Daily, I think about how to peacefully and synergistically reform and improve public safety for America’s young people, especially African-Americans as they go about their daily lives during this time of unrest in communnities across America. Legitimate protests in such cities as Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia, and most recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin have, at times, dissolved into chaos, rioting, violence, and looting often committed by anarchist and others with ulterior motives.

In this regard, I ask civil-rights leadership coalitions to collectively mobilize to assist communities in providing an immediate response to police shootings and other racial injustices. These coalitions’ organizational strength, resources and historic experiences can leverage peaceful protests for both civil and social justice reform and structural improvements here in America.

In the words of the late Congressman John Lewis “ If you see something, do something.” Do not let individuals bent on disrupting peaceful protests and distorting the messages get away with it – call them out, point them out, stop them. Your guidance is imperative in rooting out individuals whose actions may result in President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s call for the National Guard and use of other military style assistance to restore order. Trump’s political campaign-platform agenda item of law and order is a racist approach to righting the injustices and social woes in America for various segments of society.

In this context, law and order means law and injustice for minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ and marginalized whites. Civil-rights leaders must be clear to their charges not to allow the Trump regime to utilize the Black Lives Matter movement to its advantage by stroking animus fear in many Americans that Trump is a panacea for their safety and security. Trump’s playbook is to divide and conquer. He is skilled in projecting the current realities and urban unrest as the future forward of a President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s America.

During the next two months as we enter the homestretch of 2020 presidential campaign, we the people must be vigilant and not let Trump utilize legitimate protests to hijack the election. Therefore, all young and older civil-rights leaders and activists must collectively – per John Lewis, “peacefully, get in good trouble” – address the urban unrest and violence. Go into the communities, tell the people to take their righteous anger to the ballot box and vote in the 2020 election. Moreover, where it is possible, they should vote before Nov. 3.

The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal…” Although, this tenet has not been the experience of Black and brown people in America, it can be fully realized in a demanding post-COVID-19 transactional and transformational America by electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, president and vice president of United States of America.

A retired educator, Julian Stafford lives in Alexandria, Virgnia. You can reach him at



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