Monday, November 20, 2017

VETTE’S VEGAS VOICE: A Legacy of Violence

November 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Conversation

Yvette Williams

BY YVETTE WILLIAMS

Right here in our own backyard, residents and visitors were horrified by the events of Oct. 1, 2017. While over 22,000 attendees were enjoying a beautiful night amongst the glimmering lights, concertgoers were attacked without warning — leaving 59 dead and over 500 injured.

As I stayed glued to my television, I thought of my own children and how vulnerable we are in today’s climate of violence. It impacts us all — regardless of where we live, our racial or ethnic background, financial status, or political influence. The Clark County Black Caucus addressed the issue recently, by hosting the Legacy of Violence in the African American Community Summit — in partnership with The Action Company and Like It Is Radio, with support from Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, NCEDSV, Gritz Café, NAACP, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Yvette Williams, Leisa Moseley and guest speaker Dr. Stacey Patton at the Legacy of Violence in the African American Community symposium.

The African-American community has experienced a long history of violence — and as our country continues to heal, let’s never forget the horrific tragedy of mass shootings and killings that have targeted people of color. When the mass media referred to October 1 as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, it struck a nerve with many Black people who asked on social media why their experiences remain invisible or irrelevant to American media and society.

For those who are unfamiliar with that history, here are a few examples: In 1917, a race riot in East St. Louis left up to 700 Black residents murdered — after they were given the option to burn in their homes or be shot while trying to escape the flames. In the Phillips County, Arkansas Massacre of 1919, an estimated 237 to 800 people were lynched, beaten, and killed. And in one of the largest incidents, it is estimated that 300 Black victims lost their lives in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Massacre of 1921. The Equal Justice Initiative observes, “Racial terror lynching was a tool used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation.”

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and friends affected on October 1 and in other brutal attacks of violence around the world. We can each make a difference in how we choose to treat each other.

Yvette Williams is a community advocate and Chair/Founder of the Clark County Black Caucus, a non-partisan community organization driven 100% by volunteer members registered to vote. Follow her blog at www.YvetteBWilliams.com and on twitter @YvetteBWilliams or contact her at ClarkCountyBlackCaucus@gmail.com for more information.

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