Ajay Jain Bhutoria-
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Art of Protesting and resistance is what the US Needs.
Since the last few days, every person of conscience is witnessing injustice in action on our streets and attempt to reckon with the violent and vile racism on display. Every sensible person can feel the trauma and pain the people of color experience in the form of systematic racism and injustice in this country. From the daily indignities to extreme violence, like the horrific killing of George Floyd in broad daylight by a police officer.
As an Indian American, I strongly stand with Black Americans in the fight against injustice and racism. The Indian American community is committed to supporting black communities, centering black voices, and following the example of black movement leaders, as we work together to eradicate systems of white supremacy, and bring equality for all races whether brown, black, white or of any color. So as Americans, we can “BREATHE In and BREATHE Out“ freely.
As we look to where we go from here, our activism and advocacy must be rooted in the fight for racial justice. Black lives matter all the time. Not just when someone is killed. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when it’s a trend. We need to be vehemently anti-racist 24/7 and confront injustice every time we witness it.
Thousands of people in cities across the country attended protests over the past week following the murder of George Floyd while in police custody. For him, for Breonna Taylor, for Ahmaud Arbery, for Tony McDade, for Eric Garner, for Philando Castile, for Sandra Bland, for Botham Jean, for Tamir Rice, for Atatania Jefferson, and for all who have been victims of senseless, preventable police violence: we demand change. We demand protection, safety, and justice for black lives.
At a time like this, the message from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr is very relevant to people who are involved in looting, violence, and destruction. Gandhiji said, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
Protesting against the daylight murder of George Floyd is right and necessary. It’s an utterly human response. At the same time burning down small businesses, looting stores and needless destruction of communities is an act no one should be supporting or carrying out in name of protests.
The former Vice President Biden said, “The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.”
America needs a healing President. America needs Biden as President. He is a stunning contrast to our commander in chief, who has threatened that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Biden wrote, “I know that there are people all across this country who are suffering tonight. Suffering the loss of a loved one to intolerable circumstances, like the Floyd family, or to the virus that is still gripping our nation. Suffering economic hardships, whether due to COVID-19 or entrenched inequalities in our system. And I know that grief, that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear. I know. And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to the purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over — but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.
“Today’s protestors in the USA and around the world can learn lessons on Art of Protesting from Gandhiji and Martin Luther King Jr. Both pursued a very peaceful resistance and were effective in fighting injustices. And it is worth remembering what King wrote, in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, that he “earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”
[Ajay Bhutoria is an Author, Community Leader, Tech Entrepreneur and on National Finance Committee for Biden for President 2020. The views expressed are his own].