Today I am going to take a step back from sports to discuss something that has caused quite a stir in our community. A letter to the editor that was published in Wednesday’s edition of the paper.

I want to go on record in saying that I personally disagree with the entirety of the letter and that I hope the readers understand the opinions of the letter were not those of the paper. The contents of the letter are also not condoned by any staff members at The Gazette.

Before I get into things I also want to say that it is imperative as a democracy and as a newspaper to hold elected officials accountable. In publishing this letter those views were brought to light.

Not long ago I wrote about race relations when George Floyd was murdered. I spoke about needing to do more as a country and for me personally to help bridge the divide that has happened in this country related to race.

But race in this country has somehow become a controversial subject. How? Well I have some assumptions, but they are just that, assumptions. So I will keep them to myself. Everyone in this great, free country that we live in is entitled to his or her opinion, but they must also be willing to accept the repercussions that come with expressing that opinion.

We are in an information age where anyone can throw something online and say that it is true and unfortunately a large percentage of our country will take it as gospel without ever checking for themselves to see if it is true. That is one problem. We also live in a world where real journalism is getting mixed in with partisan politics that tries to hide itself as journalism.

Each day when I hear someone say the media is causing hysteria, the media is the problem or whatever clever thing that people come up with, I cringe. I cringe because most of us are hard working, fact finding unbiased journalists that want to bring you the news as it is. With no spin and no deceiving. Unfortunately we get lumped into one category, but we are not all the same.

Systemic racism, oppression and unfair justice has plagued the African-American race for over 400 years and somehow that still exists today. There is a good portion of our country that refuses to admit that this still exists and that is why we cannot move forward as a nation as one.

We as a country have to listen. We have to learn. This isn’t hard to do. Everyone has a voice and everyone should speak out against injustice and racism. It shouldn’t be a political issue whether or not Black Lives Matter. But it is. Politicians have made it that way, and it disgusts me. All lives cannot matter until Black lives matter, and they still don’t to too many in this country.

Where we go from here is up to us. We are given the beautiful right to go vote for what is best for our country moving forward. We dictate who we want representing us. Change in this country is necessary, and it needs to start now. It has been too long now that we have let the ideas of some ruin progress for so many.

I came to Halifax in January and have seen some great things happen since I came here. I have seen the community rally around common goals to move forward and make Halifax a place that people want to come to. One voice with a bad opinion shouldn’t ruin that goal. Still strive for it, work towards a better community. Continue to speak out against injustice and racism because it takes everyone working together constantly to enact real change.

I will continue to do my part by listening, learning and helping in any way that I can to promote a more inclusive society where we are all treated equally and love each other as one.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV