Our country faces a historic health crisis compounded by a centuries-old unhealed wound. It is a crisis of despair as over 100,000 Americans are lost to a virus. It is a crisis of shame as unarmed black Americans are regularly killed by the police. It is a crisis of leadership as the President clears peaceful protestors with teargas to use a church and a bible to create political propaganda.
At a time when Lincoln would have us act “with malice toward none, with charity for all” to “bind up the nation’s wounds” our President wants only to “dominate”.
I am as troubled as you are. Racism, acts of violence and police brutality are unacceptable. Justice must be served for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others.
Now is the time to direct our anger and frustration into action. It is a time for uncomfortable conversations and difficult reflections on our thoughts, actions and prejudices. It is a time for listening. I have been speaking with Black faith leaders and community leaders all week to listen and learn what next steps I need to take.
I condemn the opportunists’ acts of violence using the cover of peaceful protest. As my friend John Lewis says, “Rioting, looting and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote.”
I hope you’ll join me in donating whatever you can, time or money, to social justice and civil rights organizations like your local NAACP chapter, the ACLU and Color of Change. I hope you’ll attend local protests and marches and join your community conversations.
As we work to fix our broken system, we look to compassionate leaders for guidance. President Obama shared a toolkit for fair, safe and effective community policing and a new Anguish and Action resource page linking to organizations that work towards engagement and reform. I have attended protests and marches organized by high school students, interfaith leaders and community organizations over the past several days. These events have been peaceful yet passionate, focused on the work we have to do with and for communities of color.
We still have hard days ahead of us. I do not have all the answers, but I will continue to listen, show up and support desperately needed reforms.
It is time for justice. It is time for change.