I have said many times that race is this nation’s most traumatic issue. The events of the past week have laid bare the divisions we seek to heal and the consequences of systemic racism we seek to correct.
As I have noted many times before, we do not have a deficit of ideas in this country. We have had a deficit of courage.
It took until 2008 for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a resolution apologizing for slavery. But a formal national apology has yet to occur. It has taken generations of police brutality to now be captured on camera for mass outrage to take hold on law enforcement’s aggressive use of force, specifically targeting black people. We still see Confederate flags and statues dotting the South and the country despite the past few years’ contentious debates.
Together, we mourn the death of George Floyd, yet another African-American begging for his life, for the ability to breathe. And we are reflecting.
People, particularly white people, continue to ask us what they can do.
What can you do?
The first thing is to listen. You should gain a greater appreciation for the generations and centuries of oppression that have created the outcomes we see today. And then to change, speak up and act. If we do not, we will continue to pay a price. We will continue to see this level of unrest until we act to address the roots of our division.
The truth is we all take our own journey on race. Included in this week’s newsletter are resources for learning compiled by our team–a collection of books, films, podcasts, plays, thinkers, and activists who help shape our thinking and challenge the status quo.
As people listen and learn more, and hopefully broaden their perspective, they must accept responsibility for changing. And change fast.
We can no longer wait to address our past, whether that be through formally debating the case for reparations or creating some other national reconciliation and healing process to repair generations of wrongs.
As Dr. King wrote in his letter from the Birmingham Jail in April of 1963: “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”
The world has grown impatient for change. So change we must. We will continue to be divided until we do.
Only then can our country become what we have always promised to be: equal, free and one.
Founder and President