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A statement from the Utah Veterans Democratic Caucus

The right to protest is something rooted in the very origin of our nation. Our Founding Fathers boldly declared that, ... “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” 

To people of color, we hear you and stand with you in proclaiming Black Lives Matter. As Dr. King said in his Letter From Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We stand with you in the demand for change. 

As Veterans of diverse conflicts with diverse backgrounds, we understand what it means to stand up for what is right. Much progress in civil rights was possible because of military Veterans who stepped up: Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Medgar Evers, and many others who committed their lives to organized nonviolent resistance.

Many Veterans also work in Law Enforcement. We mourn with the family of George Floyd, whose murder by unprofessional police officers sparked this crisis. We mourn with the family of Ogden Police Officer Nate Lyday who died responding to a domestic violence call earlier this week. 

We stand with leaders in our communities of color in pointing out problems that have been exacerbated by the current pandemic. We join calls for violent protestors to stand down. As rapper and activist Killer Mike said this morning in Atlanta, now is time to “plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize” to make changes through upcoming elections. 

We recognize there is still much work to be done in fighting racism, and we are committed to this work.

We expect the police and responding National Guard security forces to be professional in their interactions with the public, and fully comply with Rules for the Use of Force in their efforts to protect lives and property through the night and over the weekend.

At the same time, no one benefits from burning down the house we live in. We hear the frustration, but this is not helpful. Violent protestors – go home tonight so we can do the real work starting tomorrow. We are better than this. 

Fill out the census. Register to vote. Join organizations that do the work. Support good candidates for office. Vote in next month’s Primary election. Show up in November.

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