Thoughts from Barry

Barry Segal

Barry Segal

Founder | BIO

I may lose followers after this. I don’t care. Watching the news coming out of Minneapolis is infuriating. My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family, friends, and community.  This was a crime against American values. This was a crime against humanity. I want to say it clearly for all to hear: Black. Lives. Matter.

Former Police officer Chauvin should be found guilty of murder. I also believe the other officers should be found guilty. Their inaction was equal to murder. This is not the first time a person allegedly committed a minor crime and during the arrest, had their breath choked out of them. I cannot understand how any human being can hear another person say they can’t breathe, that they need help, and ignore their pleas and let them die.

George Floyd’s life matters to me, as does Breonna Taylor’s, Philando Castile’s, Eric Garner’s, Tamir Rice’s, Trayvon Martin’s, Sandra Bland’s, and the list goes on and on. In all these cases, people were just going about their lives. Whether they passed a counterfeit $20 bill or sold an individual cigarette is irrelevant. None of them did anything that should result in a physical altercation with police. Police do not get to decide who lives or dies.

This is not a one-time incident; this is the product of decades of callous indifference and racism. It’s time for all Americans to get on the right side of this issue.

When Colin Kaepernick put his knee on the ground, nobody’s neck was under it. He did it as a protest to stand up for people like George Floyd. People complained that his protest was disrespectful (but it was peaceful). When celebrities accepted awards and denounced racism, people complained that it wasn’t the right time (but it was peaceful). When people marched on Washington, they were demonized (but it was peaceful).  The common denominator here is that very little changed.

Attention needs to be given to systemic racism. Fairness and equal opportunity need to be available to all. Countries with smaller differences in income have better health outcomes and live longer lives. It is a national disgrace that black women in America are 3-4 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women.

Unfortunately, blacks make up about 34% of the prisoners, and are incarcerated at five times the rate of whites. Systemic racism, inequitable access to economic opportunity, and instability make it tough for children to prosper. Putting black men in jail for petty crimes ruins black families and black communities. Privately owned prisons are a stupid idea, driven by greed. To make it worse, jail owners have bribed judges to fill up the prisons.

Power, when left unchecked, is dangerous. Most police officers are good people, but when there is no accountability for their actions, you have a dangerous situation. Those who are familiar with my focus know that I am standing up against the injustice of racism and crimes against the vulnerable and mistreated.  When bystanders witness the mistreatment of others, police lynching or child sexual abuse, and fail to act against the perpetrator, they become accomplices. We saw it with the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, etc. The system is corrupt, and perpetrators must be held accountable.

People of color have been excluded from opportunities for too long. Somehow, we must change the system so everyone who needs it can access preschool education, colleges, other things (including homeownership and wealth accumulation) to better their lives. In order to accomplish this, the wealthy must be taxed more, and you must close some of the tax loopholes the wealthy have created for themselves.

The protesters make it clear: we need positive change now, and shooting the looters is no answer. Listen. Learn. Empathize. This is what is needed, not more threats and tighter controls, but true leadership committed to healing America.

Barry Segal

Founder

Barry started Focus Autism in 2009 to advocate for vulnerable children who were more susceptible to developing chronic illnesses after being exposed to environmental toxins and other immunological triggers. In 2015, Focus for Health expanded its mission to include addressing how social determinants of health increase vulnerability to disease and ending child sex abuse.

2 Comments

Matt Stauble

Thank you Barry. I have so much respect for your heart and mind. Always standing up for what’s right no matter what.

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