Letter to the Editor: Stamford, George Floyd, Taking Action

On Monday, June 1, 2020, Chordale submitted the following to the Stamford Advocate after participating in a rally/protest march in the city the previous day.

Dear Editor,

In the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, communities across the nation have taken to the streets to amplify their seemingly unheard voices against systematic racism and oppression.

This past weekend, Stamford was no different, as I, along with hundreds of others, marched to the Stamford police station to send a message. Unlike some areas, Stamford did not descend to violence or mayhem. However, because of a lack of a clear message and a clear, desired outcome, our community’s efforts were wasted this weekend. We united for optics and not for action. When given the opportunity to vocalize real issues within OUR community with civic leaders, all sides dropped the ball.

When given a megaphone, we need to use it correctly. But before we can do so, we need a plan.

I speak from personal experience, accountability, and action. I have been arrested, twice had a gun pointed at me by Stamford PD, but more than anything, I have dedicated my adult life and celebrity to making sure that Stamford’s youth – specifically, those in our black community – do not find themselves in the predicaments that I faced.

I tell my story whenever I have the opportunity, and went a step further by creating an organization to facilitate communication between at-risk youth and local leadership, including the local force. What I have NOT done is made the mission about me personally. Because it is not about me or any one individual. Like every citizen, every officer, every elected official, I am merely a part of the broader community. However, individuals in each of those groups need to be frank and candid in their push for action. Action for the sake of photo ops is more detrimental than helpful, and simply puts a bandaid on real wounds that are only made worse when the next injustice occurs.

I have worked and advocated for unity in the community, but now it’s time to do more. While the global health crisis has stunted the ability to literally unite, I am personally asking local police, fire, and educational leaders, as well as the city council and the Mayor’s office to join me each month (when health measures are lifted) to address specifics on how each contributes on a daily, on-going basis to improving the greater community in regards to race relations.

I will spearhead this coalition and forum and will be making personal appeals to specific individuals in Stamford be a part of it. We will speak, listen and move forward with actionable items and accountability in seeing them implemented.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at chordale@gothedistancefoundation.org.

Chordale Booker