Hatred Has No Place
How do you pick up the pieces of a shattered dream? The dream of this country that all men are created equal. Our Declaration of Independence boldly proclaims: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Article 14 of our Constitution says: 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
No where in these two paragraphs does it say that one race is better than another. The Civil War was fought to overthrow slavery. The Civil Rights Movement worked to remove the shackles of segregation. Brown v. Board of Education established the right to an equal education. The Voting Rights Act was passed to ensure all votes were counted.
How do you reconcile this truths with what happened in Charlottesville, Va., the senseless death of Heather Heyer, and the hatred on full display in the city and on social media. If you are not outraged, you don't have a moral compass. But how do we move forward? How do we work to make this dream of full equality for all a reality. What can we do?
Well, we can surround our friends of color, our LGBTQ friends and other minorities with love and compassion. We can reach out to them in the coming days to say we care and have their backs. More importantly, we can speak out when we see hatred. We can shield our friends and stand with them. When we see systemic and institutionalized racism, we must work to correct it.
There are several events in the coming days to stand with Charlottesville and communities of color, LGBTQ and refugees. If you could not attend one this weekend, consider attending one during the week. FInd an event near you>>.
If events are not your thing, consider making a donation to the ACLU, the NAACP or other legal groups, like Atlanta's Legal Aid Society, who are working to eliminate systemic and institutionalized racism.
If you live in a good school district that serves the needs of all children, then find a nearby one that is not as advantaged and donate your time and energy to improve it. If you don't have a family and do have time to give, find a local Boys and Girls Club and volunteer.
Now is not the time to stand on the sidelines. Now is the time to stand on the front lines and be the change we all desperately want to be. Let's not force our children to clean up this senseless mess.
Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." And, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Now is the time to stand up and be counted. Our friends of color have been doing the heavy work for years. Now is the time to take the baton and do the heavy lifting. Start small and build up. Start by checking on your friends of color, your LGBTQ friends and refugee friends. Call them. Then roll up your sleeves and work to eliminate the threat of white supremacy.