• Mcalester News-Capital: OPINION: OUR VIEW: Promoting unity and safe boating

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May 28—THUMBS UP to those working toward unity in our community.

This past week marked a year since the death of George Floyd under the knee of Derek Chauvin — the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in April of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.

National tensions rose as we were all forced again to face the reality that racism is real, even in the police ranks.

Justice wasn't served that day Floyd died, but Chauvin was held accountable for his unjust actions upon conviction by a jury of our peers.

Moments in our nation's history forced us to face the fact that racism exists. Now we must all work toward unity and move forward together.

Rev. Anthony Washington led about 300 people in a peaceful march from Strong Boulevard to Main Street in McAlester in the days after Floyd's death to protest racial injustice and call for unity.

Among them was then-interim McAlester Police Chief Kevin Hearod, who was later promoted to the full-time position.

Since that march, most MPD officers received training to improve and ensure public safety during interactions with the public.

Hearod told us officers received training on implicit bias, deescalation, and more, and he thanked the community for its support.

Law enforcement officers can still enforce the law while promoting unity. And we applaud Hearod and MPD for their efforts to do so.

"We're all human beings," Hearod told us. "It has nothing to do with what color our skin is; whether we're short or tall. We have to look at things with an unbiased eye."

----THUMBS UP to everyone practicing safe boating this week, during Memorial Day weekend, and year-round.

This week is National Safe Boating Week, for which we have included tips and public service announcements all week from www.safeboatingcampaign.com to help everyone stay safe while on water.

It's important to us that our family, friends, and neighbors practice safe boating as we all spend some time celebrating the oncoming summer on Lake Eufaula and other nearby bodies of water.

The Safe Boating Campaign offered the following guidelines to prevent boating accidents:

1. Wear a life jacket

2. Know state boating laws

3. Take a boating safety course

4. Don't drink while you boat

5. Keep in touch

Let's us do each other a favor and stay safe on the water — all while having some fun, too.

—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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