As Trinity County citizens gathered last week for a series of three organized demonstrations to protest racial injustice and police brutality throughout the nation, rumblings in the background were wondering why here and what good it would do for little Trinity to voice its opinion.

Our answer to that — plenty good. Exercising one’s right to peaceably assemble and air grievances against government action — or inaction — should be applauded. Whether it be a local, state, national or worldwide issue matters little.

That the crowds grew larger with each successive demonstration yet stayed peaceful was a testament to organizers and participants alike. Unlike more urban areas where protests were used by some to vandalize, loot and burn building and police cars, Trinity showed what a peaceful demonstration should look like. (Make no mistake, those latter actions are criminal and should be prosecuted.)

These protests were a long time coming. The string of unnecessary deaths and harassment of people of color — and whites, too, for that matter — at the hands of authority and those in power had reached its breaking point.

The message has been delivered on a continual basis for decades, but few were listening. Civil rights leaders have been telling us of people of color feeling targeted; athletes have been raising fists and taking knees. The discussion we should have been having got lost in the debate over the action’s respect/disrespect of the flag.

We’ve long been in the camp of All Lives Matter, feeling that should be inclusive of black, brown, blue and whatever color you want to put in front. But what marchers were adamant about, and correctly so, is that all lives can’t matter if it isn’t inclusive. So, yes, black lives must matter, brown lives must matter, and blue lives must matter before you can say All Lives Matter.

So yes, peacefully march, protest and voice your opinion.

But more importantly, improving police standards and operations will require action — from politicians, police officials and front-line officers — all with the encouragement and assistance of the public.

Some 99 percent of the officers on the street are good, committed to the community, doing an often-thankless job that puts them in danger daily. It’s time to show the 1 percent the door so that incidents like the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor don’t ever happen again.

Police are a necessity to maintain a civil society.

Citizens shouldn’t have to wonder whether they’re friend or foe.

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