I feel a kinship with other shooting survivors, including students at Parkland and black Americans who were dying in the streets long before white students faced bullets at Kent State. We must recognize the tragic consequences of the hateful rhetoric emanating from government leaders whose racism, homophobia and xenophobia serve only to pit Americans against each other.
Trump’s divisive rhetoric is far worse than Nixon’s was in 1970, and that is cause for alarm today. Even as the world unites during a pandemic, bigoted Americans, emboldened by messages of hate, brandish swastikas, confederate flags and assault-style rifles with ‘in-your-face’ warnings that, if you disagree with them on issues, their guns will be used as leverage to win their point. America’s unconscionable tolerance for state-sanctioned violence must end now to avoid another Trayvon Martin, another Parkland and another Kent State.
Chic Canfora was an eyewitness and survivor of the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. A Kent 25 defendant, she was one of 24 students indicted by the Ohio Grand Jury, and later exonerated, for activism during a weekend of protests against the Vietnam War. She earned three degrees, including a Ph.D. at Kent State, where she teaches in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.