By State Rep. Carl Newton
I try to keep you updated on the events at the Capitol and legislation that affects your lives. In the past few weeks our nation, states and communities have been saddened by the unjust death of George Floyd.
The death of Mr. Floyd as evidenced by the video was a true travesty of justice. Incidences like this cause us to experience many emotions, including racial tension, fear, uncertainty, anger and grief.
I’m certainly for the right to peaceably assemble and protest to see change. Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental freedoms as citizens of the United States of America. Anyone in pain should be heard.
Throwing rocks and bottles into police stations; trying to pull officers out of their cars to assault them; destroying businesses, many of them minority owned or nonprofits; blocking public highways; burning vehicles; spray painting slogans on state property – those are things that add nothing to this conversation. If anything, they only hurt the very cause the protesters are trying to address.
To many, the death of Mr. Floyd is another example of police brutality that disproportionately affects black men. I’m not arguing that. This problem, however, will not be solved by violence and lawlessness and spray paint. Violence in response to violence and destruction of public property serves the opposite purpose of what is intended in a fight against injustice. Revenge is not the same as justice.
For example, those who spray painted slogans on the state Capitol building this week did about $10,000 worth of damage. Vandalism such as this does nothing but hurt all of us. Repairs to the Capitol will have to come from taxes paid to the state. So the repairs are actually being paid by each of us. I must say I was impressed how some of the protesters literally took the shirts off their backs to try to clean the spray paint off the Capitol doors.
My hope is that someday people will understand man’s anger never accomplishes the righteousness of God. Instead of violence, we must respond in love, which is patient, kind and listens to seek the truth. We must respond in humility, admitting not one of us has all the answers. We must respond in prayer, asking God to help us, to give us answers and strategies to move forward and end racial injustice and the anger, bitterness and violence it sparks once and for all.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. You may reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone me at 405-557-7339. May God Bless you and the State of Oklahoma.
Carl Newton represents District 58 in the Oklahoma legislature.