Trustee Joseph Woods on the Death of George Floyd, Aftermath

Trustee Joseph Woods
Trustee Joseph Woods. (Photo: VOPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Trustee Joe Woods delivered stirring remarks on the death of George Floyd at the hands of a now-former Minneapolis Police officer. He made his remarks during Monday’s meeting of the Park Forest Village Board.

Trustee Woods speaks of pain. While looting might make headlines, what passes repeatedly is the “great-much-more pain associated with the black experience in this country,” Mr. Woods writes.

The Trustee, who won the seat he occupies on the board in April 2019, often offers prepared remarks. His measured and poignant reflections provide depth and understanding for the inchoate feelings of dissatisfaction we might experience after watching Mr. Floyd’s last breaths and the demonstrations that rock the country.

Trustee Woods’ Remarks

I would be remiss if I were not to call for a moment of silence for the senseless death of George Floyd . . .

My heart, soul, and mind bleeds for all who suffer in pain over this brutal injustice, especially for African-Americans, intensely for black men, and for those who peacefully protest for justice, and even those officers who take a knee in solidarity.

A simple and empathetic gesture can stop a riot.

And while there is great disdain for acts of looting, we have to remember that there is great-much-more pain associated with the black experience in this country.

Spank a child, then tell him how to cry?

Stab a community of a people in the back, then tell them how to bleed?

You can’t have both. How peculiar that there is more discourse about the reaction to pain, rather than the PAIN itself.

They say, NO to political correctness, NO to the cuffed hands of unactionable compromise, NO to rhetoric and decent etiquette that render itself to mere words with ill intention, NO to social distancing, for this country has breached its social contract.

YES, there is George Floyd, but there were also Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, the Central Park Five, the Scottsboro Nine, Emmett Till, and even the burning of Black Wall Street in Tulsa Oklahoma, 99 years ago.

And there’s more, too many to count in a nation that once counted a slave 3/5th of a man.

And as we feel the strains of a coronavirus in the midst of a global pandemic, we have felt the strain of racism, endemic.

My fervent hope is that we develop a vaccine to eliminate systems of injustice, rather than build a generational immune system tolerant of systemic racism.

And now we seek to get back to normalcy, but do we not realize that for many blacks in this country normalcy simply means being broke and broken?

Having recently celebrated, I mean, marked my one-year anniversary as a trustee, I shall be ever more vigilant in this role, and be ever more committed to this community. I call on all those in elected office, and those in positions of authority, locally and regionally, to recommit to making better the communities we represent, with honor, integrity, and due diligence.

Remember when we used to chant? . . . We don’t want decisions about us made without us!

We know all too well that the collective perceptions that emanate from private thoughts affect public policy—in some cases, make it.

But I am not tasked with saving the souls of folks, nor do I seek to.

But insofar as those thoughts shape public policy, and they do, I care. And therein lies my role as a trustee, many times thankless, in a small town, with abundant space to think big thoughts of effectuating change in a small way . . . And in the words of Gwendolyn Brooks,

What else is there to say, but everything.

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Thank you, Trustee Woods.

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