Protests and a pandemic are a lot to swallow all at once. Shoot, it is a lot to swallow within one year’s time, let alone one month. Yet here we are.
I find myself watching and listening to the world around us with my jaw on the ground. I am not confused by anything that is going on around me. I am more concerned. There are so many feelings that I am trying to sort through. Yet, I have my feet planted firmly in the direction that I want to lead the AJT. The most prominent word that comes to my mind is “UNBIASED.”
As editor of this newspaper, it is my goal to publish content that does not divide, nor censor. So, I thought that I would share just a few of my thoughts with respect to the current issues that our community is facing.
I believe in the right to peaceful protests. Protesting is an expression of our freedom as Americans and gives our society an outlet necessary to demonstrate like-minded beliefs or ideas. It is a fundamental right that no citizen should ever be denied the opportunity to exercise.
We cannot ignore the destruction that comes from riots, nor can we ignore the cause of them. The riots that have broken out across our country are the climax of a problem or conflict that must be addressed. The recent deaths involving police brutality have ignited a problem that has surfaced time and time again over recent years. The riots we witnessed are the result of the lack of attention to these issues over time. The world’s reaction to George Floyd’s death has marked the beginning of real change.
I do not agree with demonizing the civil servants that put their lives on the line to protect and serve our communities. The officers that cross the line need to be dealt with and punished. Although, I also believe that there is more to fixing the problem than just firing and punishing the officers involved. Reform needs to start at the root. Training and understanding need to play a bigger part in police reform. When officers are placed in intense and dangerous situations, a proper response is essential to the safety of everyone involved. It should never take three officers to subdue a suspect, not if they are properly trained.
Social injustice and racism are part of our society and we, as a community, need to address them. Whether it is racism against someone because of their color, religion or sexual orientation, it is just as real to those that are experiencing it as anti-Semitism is to Jewish communities around the world.
Our Jewish heritage has survived many attempts made on our people to oppress and annihilate us. It is my opinion that we have a responsibility to support the black community in its efforts to make a change. There is an obvious issue of oppression that arises daily. As a community, we can relate to the climax of frustration and anger that they are experiencing.
I wanted to publish the picture I have featured here on our cover for this issue. I was discouraged and told that it was upsetting, that there would be “backlash” from you, our readers, because it looked like I was depicting “hoodlums” destroying our town, and that we were only focusing on the negativity of the protests.
What I see is the truth behind the emotional outcry of injustice and racism that our country is now confronting. The man on this police car doesn’t have a bat or hammer in his hand, but a guitar. It screams emotion, strife and anger that he is feeling. I wanted to put this photo on our cover because I felt as if it depicts the climax that resulted in a disturbance that will hopefully make a change in our society for the better. Unfortunately, I went along to get along and pulled this photo from the cover.
It is my mission to make my best efforts to stay away from anyone’s political agenda and give our community a reasonable and responsible platform to share diversity in thoughts, beliefs, opinions and ideas. If I am not doing a good job, then I will try harder.
It’s also okay to disagree. It is so upsetting when we get calls and angry mail from readers because we reported on something that someone disagrees with, especially when they are angry and emotional about someone else’s thoughts or opinions and shame us for sharing those views. I prefer to read opinions and thoughts that I do not agree with, even if they challenge my own beliefs and views. That is one of the most interesting aspects of life for me.
Most importantly, I want to report the news, unbiased and factual news. We are a small newspaper and we make mistakes, but I can assure you that we are doing our very best to produce an engaging and interesting publication that will continue to “Keep Jewish Atlanta Connected.”