Long-time Bangor Civil Rights leader James Varner, 86, delivers an emotional message about the last moments of George Floyd’s life and death to an anti-racism protest in Augusta. James Varner is the co-founder of the Bangor chapter of the NAACP and president of the Maine Human Rights Coalition.
By reading this article in the Healing Racism Toolkit, you have chosen to explore an experience that can change your thinking and interaction with other human beings that seem different from you but if you really really think about it, we as human beings, are very much alike.
America used the cruelest most inhumane system of slavery to build the richest most powerful nation. America, the land of the free, the home of the brave, but at what cost in human life, pain, cruel inhumane treatment, the effects of which are still being felt today? Does America owe a debt to black Americans, the descendants of African slaves: You bet! America owes a huge debt.
My friends, what the Black Lives Matter movement is saying is that black lives are just as important as white lives, just as important — not more important, just as important. Why, why my white friends is it so very hard for so many of you to love us as humans with something of God in us? Why, why my white friends, is it so easy for so many of you to hate and want to do us harm because of the color of our skin? Why is it so hard for you, my white brothers and sisters, to get beyond just words and act in love for us blacks the same as each other? The Black Lives Matter movement is saying all human life should be treated with love and respect; after all, whether we like it or not, we are all God’s children and part of the human race.
The following pledge was created by James Varner who felt inspired to write this after the killing of James Earl Bird.