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We asked St. Louis: "What can each of us do to improve race relations?"

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Brittany Packnett, Educator, Activist, Campaign ZERO co-founder:
“One of the most important things we do is to remain fiercely committed to speaking the truth. I was raised with a Christian faith background and I was always taught that the truth shall set us free. We won’t ever get free if we continue to perpetuate a myth that issues of police violence and issues of racial injustice are isolated incidents. Rather they are the result of an entire system and continual decisions that place people of color and poor people on the margins and in a lot of danger. So we’re here where Mansur Ball-Bey was killed, just over a year after Mike Brown was killed, to remind us that these kinds of killings at the hands of these kinds of systems - extra-judicial killings by police officers of unarmed black people - are happening every day in this country, whether or not they were famous or a flash point case. Standing here on this sacred ground is important in that commitment to speak truth and remind us that the truth is that systems of oppression are causing death and destruction and our students to have poor schools and our families to be separated by mass incarceration and gun violence to take huge tolls on lots of different communities. This moment and this place reminds us that we won’t be free until we get real, we won’t be free until we really speak the truth, because the truth opens the doorway for us to get at the root of the problem, instead of continuing to put band aids on the symptoms.”

PHOTO: Ann Hermes/Staff

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