When does it stop? When does the institutionalized murder of black Americans come to an end? From where I sit, things don’t look very promising. And why should they? If our history teaches us anything it is that it has been perfectly acceptable to steal and extinguish the lives of black people in this country for 400 years. Our racism is as systemic as any of our ideals, and thus calls into question the very foundational virtues that launched our nation. What was true in 1620 was true in 1750 was true in 1830 was true 1890 was true in 1960 and is true in 2016. Out heritage offers very little to convincingly suggest that black lives make any difference whatsoever – a history of slavery and murder portend a grim future.
As white progressives, we condemn those who perpetrate these heinous acts, and yet so many of sit silently and do nothing. But we MUST act. It is imperative. If we do nothing, are we not complicit in the very crimes which we so disdain?
We MUST act. We must acknowledge white privilege. And we must admit that we have been its beneficiary for four centuries.
We MUST act. We must dispense with any self-congratulatory notions that because we have black friends and elected a black president that things are getting better. They aren’t.
We MUST act. We must understand and adopt the philosophy of #BlackLivesMatter.
We MUST act. We must engage in a meaningful and public discussion about race, despite the consequences.
We MUST act. We must stand beside our black brothers and sisters on the front lines.
Fellow white progressives, the time for luke-warm alliances has come to an end. It is time to put our lives on the line as so many have done before us. There will most certainly be missteps and unintended insensitivity; we will reveal our ignorance.
But we MUST act. How could we do otherwise?
Peace be with you.