By Gwen Clayton
Owner, Rivervine Writing Services
The original mission statement for the United States of America was spelled out in the Preamble of our Constitution: “… to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty …”
This language was finalized September 17, 1787, ratified June 21, 1788 and took effect March 4, 1789. The document’s been amended 27 times, including the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery on December 6, 1865, the 14th Amendment granting rights and liberties to former slaves on July 9, 1868, and on February 3, 1870 with the ratification of the 15th Amendment granting nonwhite men the right to vote. Women received the right to vote August 18, 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. And yet, as of June 23, 2020, Americans are still struggling to form that more perfect union.
Perfection, of course, is always an ongoing pursuit, but right now too many people are taking their eyes off the goal. It’s especially troubling as we once again argue a 7-year-old quarrel between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. We can even throw in Blue Lives Matter to represent law enforcement’s side of the argument.
The debate reignited May 25 after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man from Minneapolis who was killed when white police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Cellphone recordings of the assault went viral on social media and triggered the latest wave of Black Lives Matter protests, riots and looting.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a civil rights group that started in 2013 in response to the outrage over the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator for a gated community in Sanford, Florida who, on February 26, 2012, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American high school student. The group cites frustrations with what they claim is systemic racism driving the motives and actions of state-sponsored and vigilante violence against people of color.
Over the years, BLM has held protests for numerous victims, encouraging congregators to “say their names.” Decedents include Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Antonio Martin, Jerame Reid, Charley Leundeu Keunang, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Meagan Hockaday, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, William Chapman, Jonathan Sanders, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Jeremy McDole, Corey Jones, Jamar Clark, Bruce Kelley Jr., Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Abdirahman Abdi, Paul O’Neal, Korryn Gaines, Sylville Smith, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Alfred Olango, Deborah Danner, Jocques Clemmons, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and most recently, Rayshard Brooks.
According to the group’s website, “By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.” (Source: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about)
That sounds good. Isn’t that we all want? Imagination? Innovation? Joy?
But white people didn’t react that way. Instead, they became defensive and dismissed the movement, chanting, “All Lives Matter.”
Law enforcement officers were quick to defend their use of deadly force by shouting Blue Lives Matter, emphasizing that they put themselves in deadly situations every day in order to protect their communities. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 109 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2020 and 1,269 have died since 2013. (Source: https://www.odmp.org)
When BLM chants “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon,” LEOs take offense. (Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pigs-in-a-blanket-chant-at-minnesota-fair-riles-police)
Conservative pundits like Ben Shapiro have criticized the Black Lives Matter movement.
On the September 3, 2015 edition of his show, The Daily Wire, Shapiro blamed the problem on Democrats.
“The Black Lives Matter movements doesn’t believe that Black lives matter,” he said. “In fact, they are the greatest threat facing young Black men who want to survive to become old Black men … The real threat to young Black men lies with other young Black men. Black men represent 6% of the population but nearly 40% of all murder victims and perpetrators. Why the disparity? Because for generations, white, racist Democrats did not want to police Black communities. Democrats threw Black men in jail for petty crimes against whites but they did nothing when Black men murdered other Black men … The truth is that Black communities desperately need more law enforcement. They need basic rule of law so the vacuum isn’t filled by gangs. Only the rule of law can create a safe space for business investment, which provides jobs and economic growth.” (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbSoX5v4npg)
Such was the mantra many white people used to avoid the discomfort of talking about racial issues. “Before telling us to remove the speck of sawdust from our eye,” white people shouted, quoting Matthew 7:5 from the Bible, “remove the plank out of your own eye.”
In other words, stop killing each other. The overall message that Shapiro and other conservatives were saying was as long as you don’t commit crime, the cops will leave you alone. “The real problem is Black culture,” they insisted. “You need to stop idolizing rappers who glorify violence and drugs. Finish school. Don’t have kids outside of marriage. Stay off drugs.”
It wasn’t just white conservatives shouting that message. Black conservatives like Candace Owens, Larry Elder, Jason Riley and Sheriff David Clarke all have said the same thing.
But if this is so simple — such a self-evident truth — why are we still having this discussion?
My personal story
I’ll be honest with you. I genuinely thought the racism issue ended in the 1980s. When I was growing up, the other Black kids I went to school with were all from working-class families just like mine. We all listened to the same music — Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Duran Duran, Run DMC. Break dancing was all the rage. There were several Black people in the church I grew up in.
As an adult, I had Black college mates, co-workers, neighbors and friends. I was never afraid of any of them. I never thought they were going to hurt me or steal from me. They were all law-abiding, honest, trustworthy, hardworking human beings.
So, yeah, when Black Lives Matter first came out, I was in the All Lives Matter camp. I didn’t believe systemic racism existed because I hadn’t witnessed it. I saw Colin Kaepernick take a knee and thought he was an ingrate for not appreciating the prosperity he enjoyed as a millionaire sports icon in the United States.
My worldview changed, though, when I moved to Indiana. I rolled into town Christmas Day 2017 and started my new job as editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly on January 3, 2018.
I have lived in Reno, Sacramento and Denver — all very diverse cities. This was the first metropolitan area I’ve lived in where all my coworkers were white. I’d attend press conferences, business luncheons and ribbon-cutting ceremonies where all the participants were white. At the time, there was only one Black city councilman, Glynn Hines, who at the time represented District 6. He now serves as one of three At-Large city councilmembers, and two Black women are now the only women on the council — Sharon Tucker (D6) and Michelle Chambers (At-Large).
In March, the Business Weekly had its Forty Under 40 celebration. Four of the forty (10%) were Black (3 African-Americans and 1 Haitian; please note that not all Black people are from Africa). It made me realize “Oh, hey, there ARE Black people in Fort Wayne.”
I emailed the Black Chamber of Commerce but they didn’t respond. By this time, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, so I was attending very few evening meetings, so I didn’t go to any of their mixers. I knew about them, though, and noted them in my business events column of the Business Weekly.
This was also a time when the Black community newspaper, Frost Illustrated, had stopped printing and before The Ink Spot filled that gap.
One night I was surfing Facebook and found an upcoming business fair called Events in Color promoting minority-owned businesses. I reached out to the event’s organizer, Tee Cook, and had a wonderful interview. I attended the event and stayed for about two hours, but I was disappointed to be the only white person in the audience. There was a vendor booth staffed by two white people, but everyone who came in support of the businesses was a person of color. And I’m pretty sure I was the only media outlet to cover the event.
The event itself was a fabulous! It was held at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, so we’re talking a fairly large event. I scored some awesome body butter from one of the vendors, and if I hadn’t been spending all my money on medical bills I would have brought home some artwork that to this day I still have my eye on. For entertainment, there was a fashion show and a raffle and some adorable dancing kids.
But there wasn’t any food vendor, so afterward, I went downstairs to the restaurant to get lunch. Also having lunch was a group of people who had seen me at the event upstairs. One of them approached me and introduced herself. I don’t remember her name, but she gave me a brochure for her in-home care services and I told her I would forward it to our healthcare reporter, whose name and email address I gave her. We had a lovely conversation.
Since then, I have been consciously seeking out Black business owners to get to know them because they weren’t naturally in my orbit for some reason. I just now did a count of my Facebook friends and found 41 that were Black.
I’m not saying that to brag or to prove I’m some sort of white ally or social justice warrior. Those terms bug the bejeezus out of me because I think they’re sanctimonious and focus the attention on the person having the hero complex. This isn’t about me. This is about elevating Black voices to tell the Black story in their own words. I’m perfectly happy standing down and listening. The only reason I’m writing this blog now is because there are some crucial elements of the conversation that I have not yet heard anyone address.
All my Black friends are educated, articulate, law-abiding, hard-working, family people, most of whom are deeply religious. Most of the families have fathers in the home. I don’t think any of them are on welfare. None of them have felony convictions that I know of. They’re not criminals.
And yet, on May 26, the day after the George Floyd murder, my Facebook news feed exploded with heartbreaking stories from many of those 41 Black friends, reliving the nightmares they have endured as victims of racism, especially at the hands of law enforcement or other nefarious actors.
They may not have died, but they were definitely terrorized.
Granted, I have been harassed by law enforcement a few times in my life (there are some genuine jerks out there), but most have been patient and cordial to me. At no time was I ever in fear for my life. No cop ever pulled a gun on me, manhandled me or shoved me against a wall.
I have about five friends I can think of off the top of my head who are current or retired law enforcement and I can’t imagine any of them doing what Derek Chauvin did. Even my own husband used to work in law enforcement. He would never have done that.
Based on what I have personally experienced in my life — what I have witnessed, what I have lived through — I want to believe the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are good people and it’s the few bad apples that make the news. But I also believe my Black friends when they tell me their horror stories.
I believe them when they say they have to have “the talk” with their children about how to behave around police — I never had to do that with my daughter. I believe them when they say if they get pulled over, they have to call a friend and keep them on the line in case the stop goes sour. I believe them when they say they are afraid.
So, how do I dissect this conversation to get to the truth?
Here are the facts
This part is boring, but we have to cover it. And we have to be impartial and unbiased. We have to accept that we may not like the results.
On October 10, 2014, nonprofit newsroom ProPublica released a report titled, “Deadly Force, in Black and White” by Ryan Gabrielson, Eric Sagara and Ryann Grochowski Jones. The analysis investigated killings of young Black males by police officers between the years 1982 and 2012.
The report laments about the FBI’s annual Supplementary Homicide Report. The problem with this data, they claimed, is that it was voluntary and self-reported by police departments across the country. There was no consequence for failing to report.
“The data is terribly incomplete,” the authors write. “Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all, and many have filed reports for some years but not others. Florida departments haven’t filed reports since 1997 and New York City last reported in 2007. Information contained in the individual reports can also be flawed. Still, lots of the reporting police departments are in larger cities, and at least 1,000 police departments filed a report or reports over the 33 years.” (Source: https://www.propublica.org/article/deadly-force-in-black-and-white)
Another media outlet frustrated with this lack of available data was The Washington Post (WaPo). The news leviathan began collecting its own data in 2015, calling the project “Fatal Force.” WaPo’s data relies primarily on news accounts, social media postings and police reports. The latest update was June 19, 2020. (Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/how-the-washington-post-is-examining-police-shootings-in-the-united-states/2016/07/07/d9c52238-43ad-11e6-8856-f26de2537a9d_story.html)
Pundits on both the right and the left cite this data, but they don’t cite it the same way.
Defenders of the All Lives Matter mantra look at the raw numbers. The total number of officer-involved fatalities to date equal 5,424 for the five-year period. Of those, white victims amounted to 2,478 (45.69%). Blacks had 1,298 (23.93%) and Latinx were 904 (16.67%). The remaining numbers were Other with 219 (4.04%) and Unknown at 525 (9.68%). So yes, it appears more white victims die at the hands of law enforcement.
But if you look at the percentage of the population, you’ll see that Black/African Americans total 40,305,970, which is 12.32% of the total U.S. population of 327,167,439. Whites make up 197,033,939 (60.22%). Latinx is 59,763,631 (18.27%) and the remaining 30,063,899 (9.19%) are listed as Other. (Source: https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?tid=ACSDT1Y2018.C03002&hidePreview=false&vintage=2018)
Accounting for this difference, we find that deadly force involves Black victims by 32 per million, Latinx by 15 per million, Whites by 13 per million, and Other by 7 per million.
And fatalities aren’t the only problem.
Roland G. Fryer, Jr. published a working paper titled “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force” for the National Bureau of Economic Research in July 2016 (revised January 2018). The paper explores racial differences in police use of force.
Data came from four sources:
1. NYPD’s Stop-Question-and-Frisk data;
2. The Police-Public Contact Survey published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics;
3. Event summaries from all incidents in which officers discharged their weapons at civilians — including both hits and misses — from Boston, Camden, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and six Florida counties; and
4. A random sample of police-civilian interactions from the Houston Police Department using arrests codes in which lethal force was more likely to be justified (attempted capital murder of a public safety officer, aggravated assault on a public safety officer, resisting arrest, evading arrest, and interfering in arrest).
For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to get updates on stop-and-frisk and the BJS survey. But here’s what the 2016 NBER study concluded from the event summaries and the random sampling from HPD:
Of the 12 police departments to submit event summaries on officer-involved shootings, there were 1,316 shootings between 2000 and 2015; 46% of officer-involved shootings in their data involved Blacks, 31% were Latinx, and 23% were Other, with the majority in that category being whites.
The Houston Police Department arrest data sampled 16,000 events and showed that Blacks were 4.35 times more likely to be involved in an officer-involved shooting than non-Blacks relative to their proportion in the 18- to 34-year-old male population.
Going back to the stop-and-frisk issue, the Stop-Question-and-Frisk program was a practice used by the New York City Police Department to temporarily detain, question, and sometimes search civilians and suspects on the street for weapons and other contraband.
A federal judge ruled in a 2013 class-action lawsuit that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional and violated the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of the individual. The lawsuit also found that of the 4.4 million stops between January 2004 and June 2012, more than 80% were of Blacks or Latinx.
“It is important to recognize the human toll of unconstitutional stops,” U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin wrote in the Introduction. “While it is true that any one stop is a limited intrusion in duration and deprivation of liberty, each stop is also a demeaning and humiliating experience. No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life. Those who are routinely subjected to stops are overwhelmingly people of color, and they are justifiably troubled to be singled out when many of them have done nothing to attract the unwanted attention. Some plaintiffs testified that stops make them feel unwelcome in some parts of the City, and distrustful of the police. This alienation cannot be good for the police, the community or its leaders. Fostering trust and confidence between the police and the community would be an improvement for everyone. (Source: https://ccrjustice.org/files/Floyd-Liability-Opinion-8-12-13.pdf)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics came out with a new edition of the Police-Public Contact Survey on October 11, 2018. The report uses data collected during the last six months of 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). There were 74,995 surveys sent with 70,959 (94.62%) returned. Results showed that “Two percent of U.S. residents who had contact with police experienced threats or use of force. Among those whose most recent contact was police-initiated, Blacks (5.2%) and Hispanics (5.1%) were more likely than whites (2.4%), and males (4.4%) were more likely than females (1.8%), to experience the threat or use of physical force by police.” (Source: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6406)
This is a lot of data to digest, and because I’ve spent so much time researching the issue of law enforcement interactions with the Black community, I’m not going to touch the subject of Black-on-Black violence in this blog post. That really isn’t my concern anyway since the Black people I know in real life aren’t violent. I’m not worried about them shooting each other.
The George Floyd protests have inspired a growing movement to “defund the police.” But what do they mean by “defund”? Don’t fund them at all, so that you’re effectively abolishing them? Do you mean stop overfunding them? Stop militarizing them? End qualified immunity? If you really want to get conspiracy-theorist, you could speculate that the United Nations will come in and take over as part of their Agenda 21.
In a June 11 Twitter tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said defunding the police, “looks like a suburb. Affluent white communities already live in a world where they choose to fund youth, health, housing, etc. more than they fund the police. These communities have lower crime rates not because they have more police but because have more resources to support healthy society in a way that reduces crime.”
Tim Scott, a Black Republican Senator from South Carolina, has proposed the Justice Act. His bill would increase accountability, oversight and training in local police departments in order to be eligible for federal grants.
“It is important for us to use the resources that we provide to law enforcement in a way to compel them toward the direction that we think is in the best interest of the nation, of the communities that they serve, and frankly, of the officers themselves,” Scott told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the June 21 episode of “This Week.” (Source: https://abcnews.go.com/politics/sen-tim-scott-explains-gops-police-reform-bill/story?id=71364269)
Scott has often spoken out about being apprehended by Capitol Police for “driving while Black” despite his conservative, business-like appearance. Although the federal government has no authority over local police departments, Scott would like to use the power of federal grants to compel or coerce state and local law enforcement to improve training, recordkeeping and data collection, and promote de-escalation of situations and the duty to intervene.
“Five years ago I started this journey after the Walter Scott shooting in North Charleston,” Scott said. “A man was shot in the back five times and then there was a false police report that brought us to a conclusion that it was inconsistent with reality, period. Had we had the type of resources in place, I think we can prevent more of these deaths, and certainly have enhanced penalties for falsified police reports.”
But the riots!
No one has defended officer Derek Chauvin. The entire country is in agreement that he should suffer the full extent of the law. There was no need to riot or loot.
On the May 30 episode of the Daily Briefing, host Dana Perino spoke with Lawrence Jones, a reporter who has covered protests and riots frequently throughout his career. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnmdrn49-a0)
“Just by my experience from being in the protests and being in the thick of Baltimore and Ferguson,” Jones said. “The bad actors were people that weren’t from the area. This isn’t something I just made up. Experience and being there on the ground. All the people they arrested were from out of state. You have people that have their own agenda, that are anarchists, that are part of Antifa, that are professional, paid protesters. I know this because as I would go from city to city, I would see some of the same faces. These people’s jobs are to agitate and stir up hatred. There are a lot of peaceful protesters that are on the ground … they don’t want to set the businesses that they go to on a day-to-day basis on fire. It’s the people that have absolutely no connection to the community that are seeking to set those places on fire.”
When Perino asked Jones what the solution was, he answered, “Talk to the community leaders. That’s why relationships within the community are so crucial. Because if you really understand who the organizers are, they will tell you the people that are outsiders. They don’t want their movement destroyed either. The main people that are here are legitimate protestors that feel there are injustices going on in this country and they’re speaking out against it. And they don’t want that message to be clouded by people that are agitators and looters and people that have their own agenda.”
Unfortunately, things got worse.
On June 8, occupiers commandeered a six-block area of downtown Seattle, forcing the local police department to abandon its east precinct. At first, the insurgents called their movement CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) but later changed the name to CHOP (Capitol Hill Ongoing Protest). Although there has been free food, poetry readings and art vendors, CHOP features barricaded borders and armed border guards, and requires entrants to pay a fee. The following day, CHOP released a set of 30 demands regarding justice, health and human services, education and economics that they want to see from federal, state and local officials. (Source: https://medium.com/@seattleblmanon3/the-demands-of-the-collective-black-voices-at-free-capitol-hill-to-the-government-of-seattle-ddaee51d3e47)
Seattle police chief Carmen Best told KING 5 News that even though response times are lagging upwards of an hour, “It’s definitely urgent (to move back in) but not at the risk of having some sort of standoff that ends up in a dangerous situation. We have to balance all of that.”
Best has said in other interviews that her department will only respond to calls in the CHOP zone that threaten life. Early Saturday morning (June 20), a 19-year-old man was shot dead and another critically wounded. In addition to the gunshots, Best said there have been multiple reports of rape, assault, burglary, arson and property destruction — hardly the “summer of love” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin boasted to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on June 11.
This insurrection did not go unnoticed to members of conservative media. Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson spent several nights lamenting about this idea.
“Black Lives Matter is getting exactly what they want,” he said on June 15. “You’ll notice it did not require the usual maneuvering for Black Lives Matter to get that power. They didn’t need a team of lawyers to get it. Black Lives Matter doesn’t make legal arguments. They’re not trying to convince you of anything. Black Lives Matter believes in force. They flood the streets with angry young people who break things and they hurt anyone who gets in the way.” (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22j_OhbnW20)
Glenn Beck has gone so far as to call the past few weeks “an atheist Marxist revolution” and a full-on insurrection. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMEJBf5U1WE&t=224s)
Back to Plan A
So now, a whole lot of white people are back in the All Lives Matter camp. They’ve given up trying to overcome racism or act with humanity and compassion. They’ve gone back into their corners to rehash the same talking points as before. They’ve stopped listening to Black voices. They’re no longer hearing the Black story.
All I can do is try to reclaim the conversation. The fringe left and fringe right keep playing tug-of-war with the rational populace, but we have to hold our ground. We have to stay focused.
In his book, “Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage,” U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) writes, “Failure becomes inevitable the moment it is embraced as a possibility. Once you have a Plan B, Plan A goes out the window.”
That more perfect union is our Plan A. We can’t give up and go with Plan B, which is what I’m seeing now. In fact, I would go so far as to say Plan B is tearing down the U.S. Constitution all together.
In a blog post June 21, writer Joe Siano posited the following:
“1. Any federal law or statute passed before the 1965 Voting Rights Act could not have adequately weighed in the interests of excluded minorities of color;
“2. Any federal laws passed prior to the enactment of 19th Amendment in June 1919, clearly did not account for the interests of half the population.” (Note: It was actually ratified August 18, 1920)
His solution was to start from scratch and create all-new laws, including a constitution. (Source: https://2percentpov.blogspot.com/2020/06/burn-constitution-today.html?fbclid=IwAR1yjLT8U0vA_6L7emQLz94vUmD_H8aPfQ1OetsCuTIqDTxdf6Kuoxdev2s)
My response to that is, what is wrong with the Constitution itself, or even its Bill of Rights? Our Constitution spells out the separation of powers and provides a system of checks and balances. It’s been amended 27 times since its adoption — the first 10 amendments, of course being the Bill of Rights. Why would we want to scrap it?
We can’t just live in anarchy, as much as a few noisy political activists would like to believe.
James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
So what, then?
I think what we need to do is work harder as individuals to continue working to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty for everyone.
How do we do that?
Empathy. Emotional intelligence. Humanity. Compassion. It sounds so simple to say, “Just be a good person.” But yet, we find ourselves living in our comfortable social silos, surrounded by people who look like us, pray like us, and love like us. We’re not willing to explore outside our echo chambers.
I have a saying: Success breeds success and like attracts like. If you are successful, you are more likely to help someone who is like you. What we need to do is start helping people who are not like us.
I have another saying: Success is like getting on the freeway. You can learn how to drive. You can get a vehicle. You can floor the accelerator to come up to speed. But if the traffic zooming past you in the mainstream doesn’t let you in, you can’t get on. Ergo, if you notice someone struggling to break into the mainstream of success, yield the right of way so they can get in.
We need to humanize the story. We need to value each other.
I know some people don’t like the word “diversity” but we become a better society when people from all walks of life have a seat at the table. We all have different lived experiences and it’s those experiences that give us perspective. We need to listen with open minds and work to solve problems instead of just dismissing them as some kind of socialist plot to take down Western civilization. If more people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized population groups were in decision-making roles, we would have policies, procedures and regulations that best served the whole community. If we don’t collaborate and cooperate, we end up isolating ourselves, manipulating others and becoming more aggressive. And that is definitely not a more perfect union.
If you liked this blog post and would like to support Gwen Clayton’s writing efforts, please subscribe to her Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/rivervine. Thank you.
Cover art by Theoplis Smith/Phresh Laundry