COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic oppression that is at the root of inequality in America.
Civil unrest has highlighted what Black and brown people have known (since forever): that we have been historically denied constitutionally guaranteed rights, on the basis of the racial construct.
If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself trying to figure out how you can move the needle toward (what seems to be the ever elusive “thing” called) racial justice. Some are still searching for a way to make a positive difference. Some are still wondering if they CAN make a difference.
I say to you: Yes. You CAN! As a source of motivation, I offer these words from the late Congressman John Lewis (written shortly before his death and published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, July 30, 2020):
“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”
The question now is: Are we willing to do the work?
Are we willing to admit that the declaration of our country as a beacon of freedom (a nation where there is equal justice for all) is a lie?
Are we willing to admit that the forced removal of indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery marked the beginnings of a system of racial injustice from which our country has yet to break free?
Are we willing to admit that deep-seated systemic inequities that disadvantage people of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions?
Acknowledging these truths are necessary, IF we are serious about dismantling systemic racism and working to repair centuries of harm inflicted on an oppressed people.
As more Americans are awakening to how systemic racism has cheated generations of Black and brown children and as our nation experiences this racial justice reckoning, it is up to us – ordinary people with extraordinary vision — to create the “more perfect union” that ALL Americans deserve. It is up to us to create a future of harmony where everyone can benefit.
We can start by heeding Lewis’ instructions: vote and participate in the democratic process; study and learn the lessons of history and accept that the truth does not change; continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe; put aside hatred; stand up, speak up and speak out, when you see something that is not right.
Together, we “can redeem the soul of America by getting in … good trouble, necessary trouble.”