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Letter: A letter to my family

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Protesters face counter protesters armed with guns and a vacuum, as they argue on the corner of the Cottonwood Heights police station on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

I recently joined many concerned citizens on the steps of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department to protest the excessive use of force by CHPD (and by police officers around the country) in a peaceful show of solidarity for black lives across America. As I arrived to exercise my First Amendment right I was met by an angry mob of white men wielding guns in an effort to intimidate and harass those of us who were in attendance to call for police reform and accountability.
What broke my heart the most wasn’t this desperate attempt to scare people. What hurt me the most was that sheer fact that I saw you in this angry mob. I saw my aunt, my uncles and my cousins among the aggressive crowd of pro-Trump, anti-Black Lives Matter supporters. So, It wasn’t just the vile language being spewed that was troubling, it was the fact I saw the faces of people I’ve loved all my life, the very people I break bread with on holidays, screaming the most abhorrent hatred I’ve ever encountered.
As a gay man, I’ve been blessed to be accepted, at least superficially, by most of my family. But as we say in LGBTQ activism: It’s all of us, or none of us. This statement has never been truer than it is today. After encountering this angry mob, it’s time that I draw a firm line in the sand. I can no longer turn a blind eye to the blatant disregard for racial equity that permeates our country and my very own family. I can no longer break bread with you until you open your minds to the fact that countless BIPOC lives have been lost at the hands of racism in America, and until you’re willing to help change our broken system. Simply put: It’s all of us, or none of me.

I will be kneeling alongside my chosen family on the right side of history, and one day I hope you join me.
Michael Aguilar, Salt Lake City
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