My unshakeable belief in the power of encouragement, compassion and patience is what allows me to have constructive dialogue with people from all walks of life. All I know is that if you want to find success in this world, you better always be looking to build on the common threads you share with people. Some of the toughest bridges to build in this country remain those that span our racial divides. I’ll concede that promoting tolerance over fear and rigidness can be daunting. But let us take notice, there are some people in our country who are fighting with every ounce of energy that they have to promote hate, racism and bigotry. I want to warn them now, that anyone whose mission is to keep people apart is swimming against a very strong tide.
Charles Dickens began A Tale Of Two Cities with a line that speaks to the past few weeks, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” We have seen incredible unity surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin, while at the same time we have seen some use his death as an opportunity to continue to spew vile hate.
Just this past weekend we saw the community of North Tulsa terrorized by two white suspects who allegedly killed three black men and injured two others, and on one of their Facebook pages, the words “fucking nigger” were written. The KKK has decided to show up in Sanford, Florida to patrol the streets. Someone near Detroit changed an electronic road sign to read “Trayvon a n**ger.” We have seen a rise in hatred in this country ever since President Obama took office. It seems like the hate-mongers woke up one day and realized, “We got a n*gger in the White House,” so let’s bring this country down. This is their last stand. This is the last battle we must fight. But let us not forget the most effective and easiest way to change people is through love.
Barack Obama inspired this nation to strive for a more perfect union when he ran for President in 2008. In his now famous speech on race that he gave in Philadelphia at the height of his election against Hillary Clinton, he told us, “This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation — the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.”
These words and his actions during his Presidency, along with the actions of hundreds of millions of patriotic Americans, have allowed us to envision an America that looks beyond race, that celebrates our rich diversity and that heals from the deep wounds we have suffered in the past.
My two beautiful daughters are multi-racial. My grandchildren will be multi-racial. And my grandchildren’s grandchildren will be multi-racial. This is what America, the beautiful is becoming: a country of sons and daughters that are made up of the pot that will truly be melted. We must endure the last attempts to stop us. We must fight against the few that think their voice of hate matters. We must fight the hatred with compassion, love and resilience.
For if we overcome this obstacle in our path towards equality, our nation will be the beacon of hope that we all aspire for her to be.