I’m so glad to see that John Balentine found one Black person he admires in MLK (“Here’s Something: BLM should be more like MLK,” Jan. 21). He did not address the fact that for all Martin Luther King’s inspiring rhetoric and Christian kindness, the strides made six decades ago didn’t lead to permanent justice for the Black community.

While more doors opened in sports, business and government for many people of color after the Civil Rights movement, the systemic racial disparity in pay, promotions and policing are still with us.

The legislation that gave the vote, and thus a voice, to people of color has been eroded every year since by states enacting laws in an attempt to shut those voices up. This is exactly how Jim Crow laws were used across the South after the freed slaves were given the right to vote in 1870. Now, 150 years later, nearly half the states are trying once again to make it nearly impossible for people of color to vote. The right to vote is the very spine of democracy and cutting people off from exercising that right creates an underclass of voiceless people at the mercy of the ruling class.

Balentine thinks people are supposed to turn the other cheek, be patient and wait for the white people to deem them worthy of participating in democracy. Never mind the criminal justice system that disproportionately arrests, incarcerates and even kills people of color, or the economic system that discriminates in pay, housing and lending to non-white people and then blames Blacks for their poverty.

How many of us would endure injustice for four years let alone 400? Would we not be frustrated and protest if our children were always in danger no matter what they were doing? Peaceful protest is enshrined in the Constitution and 93% of the BLM protests were peaceful. The violence that occurred at some protests had a wide range of causes and perpetrators that do not define the entire movement.

Susan Chichetto
Bath