PHILADELPHIA,PA - With the civil unrest that is happening across the country, conversations about the different race issues have been reforming in hopes of sparking meaningful change.
Roger Rogers, former Westampton Township police lieutenant and current Cinnaminson High School officer, joined Good Day Philadelphia to talk about the conversation surrounding race issues that he has been having with his children.
One of his children, 17-year-old daughter Alexis, joined him to talk about these issues as well.
For Rogers, it’s the same feelings for him as a police officer, a father and a black man. He is hurt, he is angry and he is not surprised.
“I’m more upset that it took this instant, why this one? What’s so different about this one that’s invoking such anger, unilaterally across the board. As a father and a black man, it’s the same sentiment, I’m angry but I’m also afraid for my kids, myself, the people I love and the people that look like me,” Rogers explained.
Rogers explained that, as a father of three, he has nightly discussions with his kids that have led to days without them speaking. He says that sometimes their views differ but he has taught them to always look for the truth and to always try to listen and communicate.
For Alexis, it’s been frustrating, understanding that her father is trying to support her.
“I feel like he understands where I’m coming from, he understands where I’m coming from is a place of love when I tell him how I feel," Alexis said. "Because I know that he is a police officer but he takes that uniform off at the end of the day but he still has his black skin on and that’s something he can’t take off. So when he’s out and about and he’s not wearing that uniform, people aren’t always going to see Lieutant Rogers or police officer Rogers, they’re gonna see another black man."
Alexis has said that she feels compelled to protest during this time of civil unrest, but her dad is concerned.
She believes that these are very dangerous times to be living in right now and thinks that the reason for the current chaos and violence is due to lack of change.
The viral video of George Floyd's death has deeply affected others around her. Her father doesn’t disagree with her side, but still has his reservations.
“Most of our arguments was about her actively engaging in the protests, going to Philadelphia and being part of that scene. As a father and as a police officer, it’s just not safe," Rogers expressed.
While Alexis is unable to participate in the peaceful protests in Philadelphia, she has found another outlet to be able to make her voice heard, through her art.
“What I’m trying to depict in these paintings and all of my pieces is just the feeling of being young, black and in America. I would say that it is very different than older generations because we are just watching ourselves get tear-gassed and brutalized just as her ancestors did and our grandparents did years ago and centuries ago," she explained.
The use of colors that Alexis uses in her different artwork is intentional, she says. She has mostly been using red and blue for the colors of the American flag, but also for the police.
“I feel like right now, they’re mirroring each other. They’re a reflection. Right now, the police are a reflection of America’s values and both of them are not in the right place right now.”
With more youth being galvanized into action in America and leaders taking notice of the national protests, hopefully children like Alexis will live in a more peaceful country sooner rather than later.