IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody has brought calls for justice and equality to America’s front door.
“It just broke my heart,” says Glen Rice, of Irving, while admitting to limiting his exposure to constant barrage of disturbing news.
But some of the horror still got through.
“I kept up with the thing in Brunswick, Georgia, and I thought, ‘oh, man, again’.”
Rice, a 77-year-old white man, has a unique perspective.
As a college student he was in the thick of the fight for civil rights decades ago.
“[The] 1963 March on Washington… I went to that,” recalls Rice. “I heard him (Martin Luther King, Jr. ) give that `I have a Dream’ Speech.”
But before the dream Rice was introduced to the nightmare of Jim Crow laws while on a road trip in the South.
“There was a door open, and it just said ‘colored’,” recalls Rice. “It blew me away, that there was one bathroom, that as I looked in, looked dirty, and it was a shock to my system: ‘oh, they’re not being treated like humans’.”
A half century later, Rice still sees a nation wrestling with racism, but he says the diversity of the voices now raised in protest, gives him hope.
“When I see whites and blacks and Hispanics and even see a police officer walk over and give a protestor a hug, that encourages me,” says Rice.
As Rice’s perspective encompasses both our nation’s civil rights past and present, he stresses that for him, faith is key.
“God is a God of justice and he doesn’t like this stuff and he wants us to put it right as best we can.”
His advice, whether marching in the streets or still standing on the sidelines: “The heart has to change and it’s only when we’re humble and realize we are sinners that that happens. Real progress has to start in the heart.”