Recent incidents have alarmed people of conscience in Western North Carolina and across the country. On Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging in a residential Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood, was murdered by a group of white men who said they thought he was suspicious looking. The local police took no action for 70 days, until the press got involved, leaving them no choice but to arrest those responsible.
On May 3, in Pender County, N.C., an armed mob, including an off-duty deputy sheriff, knocked on the door and threatened to forcefully enter the home of a black family, claiming to be looking for a missing girl in the neighborhood. No girl was there, and it was the wrong home, but the family was terrified as their lives were threatened by this vigilante gang of thugs.
Incidents like these are too common, sometimes with the silence or encouragement of the highest elected officials.
Whether you are the editor of a newspaper, an elected official or just a person who believes in basic justice, the rule of law and the sanctity of human rights in our nation, it’s time to stand against those who take the law into their own hands through acts of racial hatred, intimidation and domestic terrorism.
— Avram Friedman
Editor’s note: This letter was submitted the day before George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police.