The price of freedom | Richmond Free Press

The price of freedom is high.

We as black people know this from centuries of experience, having been brought as captives to this nation in 1619. And the cost of freedom has not gone down in recent decades, as the Ukrainian people l learns unfortunately.

We remember the heavy price paid by freedom fighters such as John Lewis and many other brave ordinary citizens as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, in search of the right to vote guaranteed by the US Constitution. .

Their march was halted when they were brutally attacked and beaten by police with clubs and tear gas who tried to thwart their efforts. But the crowd of walkers only returned bigger and stronger in the following days as, led by a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., they trekked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital, to support the right to vote. Over 25,000 people were with them that day when they arrived in Montgomery.

That horrific first march 57 years ago, known as “Bloody Sunday,” marked a turning point in this nation’s history and spurred the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is learning that brute force is no match for what is right. Mr. Putin and the leaders of many countries, including the United States, believed that the Russian military would easily overthrow the Ukrainian people in this appalling invasion.

But the Ukrainian people and their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy – all freedom fighters – are not giving up. While more than 2 million people – mostly women, children and the elderly – have fled in the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands more have remained, taking action to protect their freedom and that of their loved ones. country. It is estimated that 25% of combatants are women.

We call on the right-thinking nations, peoples and businesses of the world to continue to support the people of Ukraine through humanitarian and other aid and to continue to increase the pressure against Mr. Putin and Russia to end this senseless war.

We support the myriad economic and other sanctions that have been imposed against Mr. Putin and Russia by more than 30 nations so far, including the United States. On Tuesday, President Biden signed an executive order banning the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal into the United States. The UK followed suit with its own ban on Russian oil by the end of 2022.

Although not an immediate ban, as we would like to see, it is a big step, given the dependence of the UK and most of Europe on oil produced in Russia. Some experts estimate that up to 13% of UK oil imports come from Russia. And, according to Eurostat, 30% of European Union oil imports and 39% of total gas imports came from Russia in 2017.

The European Commission this week announced plans to cut gas imports from Russia by two-thirds this year.

Across the United States, including the Richmond metro area, gasoline prices are climbing daily to a new record high. But we think it’s a small price to pay if it helps end Russian aggression and help the Ukrainian people secure their freedom.

We believe that the situation in Ukraine is a cover for selfish profiteers and crooks whose only interest is to make money from people during this global crisis. We call on Governor Glenn A. Youngkin and Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares to provide the leadership and action needed to stop this in the Commonwealth.

During his tenure, former Attorney General Mark R. Herring proved that it could be done. One of his last acts in office at the end of 2021 was to hold Richmond and Waynesboro-area gas stations accountable for violating state laws against price gouging and consumer protections in May 2021 during the temporary pandemic shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline that supplies fuels and other petroleum-based products to much of the East Coast.

We hope that Governor Youngkin and Mr. Miyares will intervene.

This crisis also directly signals the need for the United States and nations around the world to break free from dependence on fossil fuels and continue to innovate and push the development of solar and wind energy and other sources of energy. alternative energy.

The world is being held hostage right now by a madman in Russia who is scaring the world community to intervene 100% to help Ukraine lest he drop a nuke, take over Poland , Moldova or other nations and/or triggers World War III.

These are scary times, even scarier for the people of Ukraine. Our actions over the next few days will show how much we are willing to pay for freedom.

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