Nae-shawn Teague (left), 16, and Kamil Johnson, 17, are both from New London and they came to join a protest of the death of George Floyd. Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Doesn’t  “I Can’t Breathe” resonate with our common humanity in George Floyd’s call for help and a “hand up” that never came for him?  On this there is great humility and unity.  Although with political tensions high, isn’t this fast becoming just another tinder box of destruction as anarchists take to our cities across the country?

If we are careful, however, and united, we will continue to embrace that humanity and humility and hearken back to history — too often forgotten — in our public schools.  We will not let this moment pass by simply tying up traffic on I-84  with the loss of businesses due to anarchy and looting.

Instead we will embrace our history and hear the voices from the past urging us forward in the republic with reform — a reform that requires our education system to teach for achievement! We will do the hard work, involve the faith community, and ensure students of “the gap” can read at grade level and solve math problems that take them to the moon on Space X one day!

The despair of “I Can’t Breathe” must not be followed up with more suffering. In part it must be followed up with a “hand up” in “I Can Achieve.”

Our shared humanity – found in our nation’s history – unites us no matter which ship brought our ancestors to these shores. Civilization and our Republic depend on it. Justice requires it!

Susan Harris is a retired U.S. History teacher from Cheshire.

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