June 7, 2020: Forcing Change
It has certainly been a chaotic and troubling few weeks for our country. While dealing with a global pandemic, we are also laying bare the racial inequities in our nation.
I remember researching the Civil Rights Movement for my book, Forcing Change. I remember reading books and articles about the social injustices that were a part of the culture of our country. I remember studying documents, photos, and arrest reports that exposed the violence and brutality with which so many protestors were met. The courage, conviction, and commitment of those involved was awe-inspiring. Because many of those who were on the front lines in the 1960s were still alive, I even got to meet and hear first-hand, the experiences of so many of these heroic people.
That we are still dealing with systemic racism in our nation more than 60 years later is shameful. That my brothers and sisters of color have had to live in a reality that does not live up to the promise of America, is heartbreaking.
As a white American, I have had the luxury of being able to believe that we were making progress. That things were better. That acts of racism were rare and limited. That racists in our country were the minority.
I no longer believe those things. These last few years, groups that profess hate and intimidation, have crawled out of the darkness. They have been empowered to stand in the light and spew their vile ideas and expand their power.
We all have a responsibility in stopping this. Not just people of color. Not just activists. Not just people in positions of power. But every single one of us!
We must listen to Black Americans about what is happening and what they need. We must acknowledge that these great inequities exist. We must not tolerate systems that treat people differently because of their skin color or address. We must not allow rogue groups of people to sway the focus with their violence and destruction.
This must stop.
We must do better.
We all must be FORCING CHANGE.