“There comes a time when silence is betrayal…Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
An open letter to Mayor Strickland:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal…Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." I have an issue with you, Mayor Strickland. Respectfully, you have had a pronounced and active silence, in regards to, Confederate901 and the Hiwaymen. These particular groups and others related to it have been very public in their racist comments and threats directly towards citizens of Memphis. As a mayor in a predominately African-American (Black), it is disheartening to witness the silence. Actions to protect and denounce the actions of these hate groups have not come consistently. Many people and groups have asked you to support the people of his city by allying against derogatory commentary from that faction.
For me, it is easy for people to stand after the work is done to align for photo ops to appear supportive. It is easy to be an ally after the fight is done; however, right now citizens are being verbally attacked, trolled, and given public death threats. These threats are all public content matters on Facebook, in letters, and in angry manifestos. These actions are not secret behaviors.
One of your opponents, County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, has been subject of personal attacks and death threats. Yet, you say nothing. Is Tami not a citizen of Memphis? Does she not deserve the same rights and privileges of a citizen of Memphis to feel safety? I understand the competitive spirit of trying to win a re-election but is it not a better show of character to show empathy of a black citizen? Is it not of good will towards women that as a man that you stand as a leader to directly address other men with direct messaging that attacking women will not be tolerated in Memphis?
It is a shame that the silence outweighs actions and voice. The images of police surrounding member of TakeEmDown901 vs the free range that was provided the Confederate901/HiWayMen group that celebrated a slave trading, racist and well documented member of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford Forrest is a stark difference. You have a direct influence over how the Police Director engages this city. To play the political card of power delegation and exchange that the Director is trusted and has power to control and engage as wished is a silent cop out. The fact is that as Mayor you can speak on the matters if you wish. Unfortunately, you choose not to. I question that.
In a city where black citizens are frustrated with civil liberties, poverty, city contract bidding, equality or transportation options, unfair jail sentence terms, living wages and so many other inconsistencies of treatment that there is a profound need for our current leadership to not be silent. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I ask you Mayor Strickland to denounce the racist factions that troll, antagonize, and threaten our citizens of Memphis. I appreciate your time and look forward to your response.
A citizen of Memphis