I am a nobody. My feelings and sentiments are not sought nor published by distinguished newspapers. CNN does not call me to schedule a zoom interview.

But I have them nevertheless.

What I feel is the pain of ugly history in these United States. That pain streams all over our streets at night and day. Young people are fed up. The old ones as well. Me too. The cops are starting to hide from us.

So where do we go from here?

Remember that when Nelson Mandela was freed from 27 years of imprisonment he knew freedom was not enough to heal his broken country. So a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for South Africa was created to give voice to pain, torture, suffering, over years and years of brutal apartheid. The commission took its time. The persecuted, at least those that had survived brutality testified to their anguish on live television. Many wept. Me too.

Both the persecuted and the persecutors testified. Only when the truth was revealed would the persecutors plead for forgiveness. Most of them were police or members of the military sworn to uphold segregation at all costs.


That commission worked.

Another one in Canada addressed the abuse endured by Native Canadian children at the so-called residential schools, where their identities were stripped creating generations of dispossessed. In Maine a commission did much the same for the Wabanaki people. There have been others in Peru, Argentina and Rwanda.

We desperately need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for our people: old, young, brown, black, white, well off, those scraping by on crummy jobs while all fear a virus pandemic within this racial one.

I am a nobody. I don’t know how to make a commission. But someone else surely does.


Barbara Skapa

Mount Vernon


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