In the wake of these events, I have been reflecting deeply on their impact. I cannot put myself in anyone else’s shoes, but I can use my experience as a father and leader in our community. Through my children, I’ve gotten to know so many mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. The common thread we share is a desire for the very best opportunities to succeed.
I think of the children that play soccer with my son. The sport brings them together, but they come from different backgrounds and walks of life. I’ve watched them grow up together, witnessed their academic success, their best soccer performances, and talked them through their worst defeats. I have had discussion with parents about raising these young adults, being dads and moms, sports, faith, and race. These conversations have helped me see the struggles that each child and family have and how dramatically different they are. When I saw the unconscionable actions taken against Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, I thought of those boys, and the fear of something like that happening to one of them.
I’ll never be able to understand the fear and pain that Mr. Arbery, Mr. Floyd and their families felt. But, I will listen, educate myself, and do my best to help those around me understand what can be done to help.
No law can end racism, but we can take a stand against it. Education, conversations, and respect will help guide us to impactful policies that create positive change. Getting to these policies will require open discussions where questions can be asked and solutions can be presented. These conversations start at our dinner tables, in our communities, and amongst our friends. Engage your friends with open arms, ask how they feel, and find ways you can make a difference in your community.
What can lawmakers do after returning to the Capitol? We should collectively stand up against racism by passing the hate crimes legislation currently in Senate committee. We will work with law enforcement to improve training and increase outreach to minority communities. We will engage in respectful conversations to preserve justice in every corner of our state. Most importantly, we will listen, so we can act.
State Sen. P.K. Martin is a Republican from Lawrenceville.