This article appeared in the June 08, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Can weeks of protests make a difference this time?

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Demonstrators gather at New York’s Washington Square Park June 6 during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd. Protests broadened in the U.S. and abroad over the weekend. Most remained peaceful.
Clayton Collins
Director, editorial innovation

In the two weeks since the killing of George Floyd, a yearning for social justice has overpowered calls for social distancing. 

Some marchers stress that the pandemic’s toll has been just another indicator of inequity. Most have applied nonviolent tactics, including in places far from liberal enclaves.

The betterment of policing is a halting process. Some see small acts of police outreach as performative, and counter with new video evidence of brutality. Some view police unions as blind protectors of officers who overstep. 

Still, Minneapolis police have banned chokeholds (and the city council seeks to restructure the department). Seattle has temporarily halted the use of tear gas. Talk of ending “qualified immunity,” which makes it nearly impossible to successfully sue law enforcement officers, has revived. So has talk of training standards for the nation’s 18,000-plus police forces. 

The head of the NFL, which censured a star for kneeling in protest in 2016, apologized for having ignored the concerns of black players and now supports players’ right to peaceful protest. The energy of persistent protest may be lifting voter registration

Now, calls are rising for service worthy of gratitude.

“We need police ... in our communities,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN Friday. “We all call upon them at one time or another.” A day before she had thanked protesters for honoring Mr. Floyd and others. “There’s something better on the other side of this for us,” she said, “and there’s something better on the other side for our children’s children.”

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This article appeared in the June 08, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 06/08 edition
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