Mekhi's life mattered, but you didn't know him

"14 killed in Chicago, among them a 3-year old boy and a 13-year old girl ..." so said the person reading the headline on TV. Guessing each of these victims has a name, I found the story online — with pictures. I scrolled past the headline and something about "another violent weekend in Chicago." I stopped at the picture of a baby boy named Mekhi James. I felt rage ... rage that Black lives matter when murdered by a policeman, but not when murdered by a gang-banger. The silence is deafening.

When will protests begin? Riots? Garbage cans on fire? Windows broken? Where are the talking heads on cable? Where are the clergy? Where are elected leaders? So Black lives really don't matter unless they serve a political purpose? Shame on me for not learning the names of other young victims like Mekhi. Shame on people of faith for doing nothing radical to prevent this. Shame on politicians who have yet to mention Mekhi by name. Shame on all of us for allowing this to become commonplace. Surely, in a nation of 360 million human beings with a brain ... there is one that holds the key to stopping this. Surely. Mekhi's life matters.

Dr. James D. Wilkins

Cleveland, Tennessee


Legislators missed an easy call on Forrest

In "Few Changes at Tennessee Capitol" about the legislature's unwillingness to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest on display there, Rep. Robin Smith justifies this inaction by saying, "It is part of our history. And we should learn from our history, not live it every day."

As a white Southerner, may I respectfully suggest that black people do live that history every day. Forrest is not someone the state of Tennessee should honor in any way. His association with the Ku Klux Klan and the Fort Pillow Massacre is reason enough.

Smith says "we ought to come together and say our past is our past." I couldn't agree more.

The way to come together should have been for Smith and all her colleagues to vote to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest outside its chambers.

Judy Powell


Elect Perez for education progress

I am for Marco Perez for Hamilton County school board and would vote for him if I lived in District 2. Here we are in the midst of a viral pandemic where people have lost their jobs and people of color are continuing to be mistreated by police. People are protesting all over this country for Black Lives Matter, and Mr. Decosimo is up in arms because a school board member posted a BLM sign on her Facebook page. How tone-deaf!

I am so proud of the students of our community who protested! That means supporting our public schools with more money and with more integration. The "conservative" and "traditional" values are what got us into this mess! The Hamilton County Commission has failed ever since the school systems' merger to adequately fund public education. It is time for equity in this county, and I hope you will all vote for school board members who care about progress in public education!

Shannon B. Mowrer



Call Hart what he is: a satirist

I have written before that Free Press contributor Ron Hart's political satire, which many readers enjoy, might deserve to appear in our newspaper, but it does not deserve to appear in the op-ed section with the label of "Commentary."

His June 19 column contained, by my count, 13 falsehoods, including the closing sentence: "U.S. intelligence agencies say they uncovered a plot by Russia, China and the Taliban to just sit back and enjoy watching us implode." An earlier column contained: "The good news is that it seems tear gas cures COVID-19." He would surely claim that these are jokes, not intended to be taken seriously, but that is exactly my point. Responsible commentators follow journalistic rules that do not apply to cartoonists and satirists, and labeling Hart's humor as "Commentary" cheapens our op-ed page. Please re-label his column appropriately as "satire."

Dan Kennedy