Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thoughts on Charlottesville

With a few more votes in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton would be President. 

Instead, Donald Trump won the election and his messages have emboldened white supremacists to come out of the shadows - not even covering their faces with hoods of the KKK - and openly attacking others with torches Friday night and running them over with a car Saturday afternoon. 

But make no mistake, the racist, white supremacists who tried to start a race riot Friday night and Saturday in Charlottesville were walking among us prior to the election - they were just hidden a bit more in the shadows supporting the institutions of structural racism and oppression. 

They were evident when Trayvon Martin was killed... and Tamir Rice and Michael Brown and so many others. They were there when a resume is placed in the trash or a rental application is denied because someone's name "sounds black". They were there when a person of color is far more likely to be suspended, expelled and incarcerated than someone who is white. They are there when voting rights have been denied again in the same precincts that disenfranchised black voters in the 20th century during the Jim Crow era. 

In order for our country to transform into a nation that truly preserves the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL - we must actively dismantle the systems of racism that support the LIE of white supremacy. 

The one silver lining of a Trump Presidency is that the myth that a strong, white, wealthy man is supposedly superior to others is being exposed for the fraud that it is. 

Just as a caterpillar transforms through a cocoon into a butterfly - our society must also be transformed. Unfortunately, I think we are in the "ooey-gooey" stage of that transformation. 

It will take each of us working together to not only remove symbolic statues that commemorate our racist history, but to actively dismantle the systems that oppress people of color including discriminatory hiring practices, mass incarceration, housing discrimination, inadequate schools, etc. 

We need to dismantle racism with concrete actions. Taking down the statues is one small step. Dismantling the systems and policies that directly and indirectly oppress people of color requires even bolder actions. 

The world is changing. There are those who would have us go backwards, but our ingenuity as a nation compels us to move forward and leave the old systems of oppression behind. 

When we allow one segment of our society to lag behind - and worse yet to exploit one segment of society in order to benefit another segment of society - then we are living in contradiction with our nation's fundamental belief of one nation, indivisible. 

It's time to stop having discussions about race in this country and start fixing the problem. One important step is to name the problem for what it is - systems and policies that preserve "white supremacy". We talk a lot about race and discrimination "on many sides" but the reality is that our nation was founded on the oppression and enslavement of black people taken from their homes and the slaughter and near genocide of Native Americans. 

That is our history. Some in Charlottesville and across the country want that history to be our present and also our future. 

I am fighting for a different future, a transformed future where we love ALL thy neighbors and these institutions of white supremacy are dismantled forever. 

Thankfully there are many more who join me in this fight - those who are fighting every day and have been fighting for many years. I am grateful for their leadership and sacrifice. I look forward to our hopeful, more positive future - together

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