Here at The Georgia Review, we’d begun preparing our regular letter to you about an upcoming issue, when droves of Americans—documented and not—came together in unprecedented numbers, risking their well-being to protect the most vulnerable of their neighbors. The Review, and more importantly, each of the individuals in the organization, support a movement that demands a redress for and a reckoning with the systematic, senseless killing of innocent life, a common goal that has brought many thousands of Georgians to the streets, not just in Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, and Athens, but also in suburbs and small towns across the state that have rarely seen protests. In general, we have been giving space to those whose lead we should follow, such as community organizers and literary/arts organizations working directly in the crux of the conflict. But not to speak of it at all would be a travesty itself.
We have witnessed the grievous deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, all of whom were unarmed and nonthreatening Black citizens killed by people who have worked officially in the name of our country’s justice. Arbery’s murder took place here in Georgia. Furthermore, when I began to write this, our nation’s capital was—and arguably still is—a zone militarized against the crowds of people voicing both their outrage at these murders and their demands for a better future. This is a somber statement about the United States on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
The killings of Arbery, Taylor, Floyd, and McDade are not anomalous cases, as has been clear to the greater public since at least 2014. This is a country whose founding motto, “all men are created equal,” was penned by a slave-holder and whose desire to be “the land of the free” is coupled with the fact that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. The latter contradiction folds out of the first, and the two undergird what many of us resist today. These contradictions are not worth keeping, needless to say worth fighting for. I love my home country, the United States of America. I love it so much that I can’t overlook moments when it’s at its worst, when it fails to honor the aspirations it proclaims. I love it dearly, and that is why I support those who force us to reckon with these injustices and compel us to imagine our country at its best. Any love worth keeping allows space for criticism in the spirit of mutual betterment. We can be better than having murders like these be commonplace.
We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and all other allies working for justice, however it is each of us chooses to participate in this resistance movement.
Editor, The Georgia Review
9 June 2020