As an individual who is passionate about and committed to an equitable culture, the events in Charlottesville hurt my soul. The symbolism, the words, the threats, the images and the violence are antithetical to who I am and to the country and community in which I want to live. We are seeing more not less of these types of events and this type of behavior. Our current political climate seems to have given some folks the message that this type of hateful rhetoric and behavior is acceptable in multiple venues.
We need to start in our own community. We need for people in our City to hear the truth about the Greensboro Massacre, we need to hear the truth about our whitewashed history, we need to acknowledge the truth about how different some lives look in our City compared to others – not only in November 1979 but in 2017. We can blame gangs, we can blame opioids, we can blame guns, but what causes an environment where gangs and opioids and guns flourish? Unemployment, lack of meaningful activity, inadequate and densely populated housing, people feeling disconnected and disenfranchised and people struggling to meet the basic needs of their family provide fertile ground for a myriad of issues destructive to our community. Yet it seems easier to blame others than to do the hard work of solving hard problems. While we are pointing fingers, looking for blame and dodging responsibility at all levels, people are dying. How many young Black people do we need to bury before we decide that solving our problems is more important than finding who we should blame?
We have community leaders who are stepping up and out – faith leaders, Democracy Greensboro, Indivisible Greensboro, BLM, Beloved Community City and others. We need elected officials who also lead. We need elected officials who strongly denounce racism, who are transparent in their dealings, who understand true leaders do not blame others but instead take responsibility.
We need elected officials who understand the power of all people and who promote inclusive problem solving. I am that leader.
Denouncing wrong is a start. Righting those wrongs is our charge.