Created: June 07, 2020 10:00 AM
Jerome Underwood is the President and CEO of Action for a Better Community, an organization that was born out of the 1964 race riots in Rochester. Courtney Thomas is a legislative aide to City Council member Malik Evans and a community activist. Though they're from different generations, they've shared similar experiences and have similar ideas about what needs to be done in order to create meaningful change surrounding racial injustice.
"For this to change, white people have to change," says Underwood. "Our humanity is equitable to anyone else's humanity, and to see us as individuals who walk, breathe, love ... that is not the norm. Love is a prescription and when the prescription doesn't work, increase the dosage. But you can't legislate love. You know, so, this deep, entrenched, institutionalized and systemic racism ... only white people can change it."
Thomas adds "As a young person who's been told 'you should exercise your rights,' I feel like I can't do that. If a police officer pulls me over, the first thing I wanna do, is just say -- whether I'm wrong or right -- give me the ticket. I'd rather pay the fine and the docket fee than get into an altercation where I have the potential to lose my life. And for young Black people to feel like they cannot exercise their rights, that in itself is something to say about the society we live in."
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