It’s on all of us to stop the mini ‘civil wars’ being waged on our streets

My brother, Tom Vargas, a Chicago police officer, worked in Englewood, one of Chicago’s most violent and gang infested neighborhoods. On the morning of June 1, 2009, I woke to news of a young officer killed in Tom’s district.

I immediately called my brother, but he did not pick up. I called my father and learned Tom was safe, but became distraught when I learned his partner Alex Valadez was killed when gang members fired on both of them as they interviewed a resident.

Words can’t describe the pain and anguish endured when an officer is killed in the line of duty. The violence in recent days has inflicted such searing pain on the loved ones of Dallas’ fallen officers, as well as the loved ones of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling who were killed by police days earlier.

With shootings in San Bernadino, Newtown, Charleston, Orlando, Chicago, and now St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas, we’re seeing a barrage of mini-civil wars being fought on American streets. Civil war is defined as “a war between citizens of the same country.” The Civil War of the 1800s was a large-scale economic conflict between the North and South about Black slaves as property, but what we’ve seen recently in South Carolina, Orlando and Dallas, are acts of civil war rooted in hatred on the basis of race, class, gender and sexual orientation.

Read Full Story from our colleagues Robert Vargas and Rashawn Ray at

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