The READ Center is an Adult Basic Education program helping adults over the age of 18 improve their literacy skills. We do not seek to serve specific races as literacy is a critical skill for everyone. However, systematic segregation and chronically under performing schools have led to deep pockets of low educational attainment in the east end, northside and southside of our community. More than 84% of READ Center students are Black.
The READ Center staff, tutors and students have been touched by the death of George Floyd and the recent protests in our community for racial and social justice. Students want their voices heard. Staff and tutors want to share their thoughts and feelings. In the spirit of The READ Center’s values of respect, diversity, and knowledge, below are thoughts, ideas, and feelings from The READ Center community. These are the first submissions. As we receive more, we will add to this post.
READ Center Students
Most people say that they can’t wait for things to get back to normal. As for me, I don’t want some things to go back to normal. If some people think police brutality and killing Black men and woman is normal, then something is wrong with that normal.
If you think normal is killing LGBTQ people and we hear on the news that a gay man or transgender person is found dead because of who they are, is normal, then something is wrong with that normal.
If you think good healthcare is not for all, then something is wrong with that normal.
If you think it is okay for people of color to keep getting turned down for houses and loans, then something is wrong with that normal.
If you think refusing to unveil our 44th President Barack Obama’s portrait in the White House, then something is damn wrong with that normal.
I say, we are looking for equality, not revenge. No matter how educated or rich you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. I CAN’T BREATHE! Amazing! Ava can breathe now! I’m speaking the truth! Ava Entzminger
It’s about 12 am in the morning and I just can’t go to sleep. There is so much going on in my mind, how crazy things have gotten. I am just tired of hearing about people dying. The Coronavirus have taken 106,202 people away and we still have people fighting for their life right now. And now we have people protesting and riots. I understand that people are mad but why are they out here breaking into people’s stores. Now they have people sitting in jail side by side. So how many more are we going to lose? Besides that I’m feeling sorry for some of the police officers. Not all are bad, we do have some good ones. What about them ? They have families that they have to go home to. Are they going to make it home? They said black lives matter, but in my eyes all lives matter. I’m so glad I had a grandmother that taught me a lot when I was growing up about racism. But I have my own theory, racism started from home or an unhappy experience that has happened in life I believe, but everybody has their own beliefs. But if you sit back and really think about it racism is taught.Babies are not afraid and they love everybody. People should teach their children how to love and not hate. Janine
It is very sad for both parties, sad that a person died, sad for his family, and sad that there is lots of hatred and no love. Lance
I might not be someone who’s a threat, but when you affect lives of people, you are hurting the nation. I shall fight for the rights of those people because everyone is family to me. You can arrest me, torture me, and even sentence me to jail. You’re welcome to think you’ve defeated me but I am still standing tall. My beliefs for this nation will never die, but only to become stronger. With my beliefs I shall fight for justice and equality for Black Lives Matter. Black lives always have and always will matter. You can try to erase the fact, but the evidence is all around us. It’s time for a change and get the facts right. For our history may be negative but now we can change it. With the history of this nation, we will not lose our spirits for what’s right. Anna
It was wrong to kill George Floyd. He didn’t do anything wrong. Just because he’s black they shouldn’t have killed him. Martin Luther King said everyone should get along…. black, white, brown. I love everyone…. black, white, brown. I don’t care what anyone’s skin color is. I love everyone. God made us this way. I’m glad the cop is in jail. You shouldn’t kill someone because of their race. We are all the same. We bleed the same. It’s not right. Larry
Protesting and standing up for black people I understand. You need to come out big. These people that come into town and destroy things shouldn’t happen. Things have to change but not by destroying poor people’s things. ACB
What happened to George was wrong and I stand up for him. I hope they get justice for him. He said he couldn’t breath and they didn’t do anything. It hurts me to the core. Now he won’t be able to see his daughter graduate. LW
It’s not right to kill someone. The police should help us and protect us. This action makes me sad. SR
READ Center Tutors
“..The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ( 1 Samuel 16: 7). Perhaps now is the time for Americans to begin the process of racial reconciliation by examining our hearts. Linda S.
As I watch the events unfolding across our country, the time has come for the best parts of human character, our better angels, to speak up and reach out in solidarity with those who need our support. Communities of color have fought inequality far too long with too little success as most of the people in our country turn a blind eye to the obvious, choosing to stay comfortable and unbothered by the apparent injustice because it is not in front of them. Then an event underscores the terrible reality too many choose to ignore or avoid. That event happened in Minneapolis on May 25 when George Floyd tragically had his life taken by a senseless, overreach of police power, while onlookers recorded the situation and pled for restraint. How have we let ourselves come to this? The time has come to put a stop to this insanity.
As a tutor in the READ Center I see both the challenges our brothers and sisters face in their pursuit of improving their lives through reading and I am in their debt as I benefit by their inspiring stories. Racism, long the scourge of our history, has had its effect on each person, student, and tutor, alike. We enjoy and celebrate our differences, caring genuinely for one another. We come together for a common purpose – to provide support and pursue a lifelong goal to achieve reading capability for a better life. This is what our better angels look like. This is what we can be in this community, state and in our country.
I support all of those who are protesting injustice peaceably and recommit to work to peel back obstacles that stand in the way of our brothers and sisters achieving equality in healthcare, education, and opportunity. Each of us can do so in meaningful ways both big and small. The time has come. Jack Harsh
READ Center Staff
I know that there is a new “normal” because of COVID. I also hope this new normal includes extra allowances. That it allows for ANYONE to wear a hoodie and not have their actions questioned. It allows ANYONE to take a jog or walk through a different neighborhood. It allows ANYONE to browse throughout a store without having a clerk trailing them. It allows that ALL people, regardless of skin tone or ethnicity, are treated the same in terms of laws and punishments.
I am blessed in so many ways. By the opportunities I’ve had, the choices I’ve made, and the things I’ve done. However, my biggest blessing has absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve actually done. It is not being an American. Being born a WHITE American is my biggest blessing. My hope for the new normal is that a person’s skin color doesn’t determine their blessings in life.
Until my friends, students, and anyone of non-European decent, are not subject to extra scrutiny and different enforcement of the laws, these protests should continue. This racism must stop. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BLM Janet Sodell