Today social media is filled with black screens as an outcry for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless Black lives lost to police brutality, racial profiling and discrimination. This is the day to listen and amplify voices of Black artists, leaders and members of our community. I’ve thought extensively throughout the day as to what this means for me personally. What can I do with this movement that is different from the ones before? The 13th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made strides in human rights and addressing inequality. The United States is more diverse now than any time in history: Black, Hispanic, Muslim, Asian. I believe we are at a place when calls for equality and diversity are not enough anymore. The United States has an issue with self-centeredness, pride, egotism and hatred: it’s systemic and so deeply engrained we don’t even know it’s there. This underlying condition manifests itself in one’s natural tendencies and for far too many – that’s racism.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is to acknowledge the systemic racism that traces back to the founding of this country. Inequality was written into the Constitution when representation and appropriation was determined by the whole Number of free Persons and three-fifths of all other Persons. Social progress moves forward as far as the current generation allows. The Founding Fathers lead social equality for commoners and proletariat against aristocracy and royalty. The next generation lead strides in equality with the 13th and 14th Amendments that repealed that 3/5 compromise. The generation after that tackled segregation and discrimination. We need to be the generation that moves the needle forward on condemnation of racial injustice and atonement of racism in America. Slavery is the American atrocity that needs to acknowledged, addressed and condemned. I resolve to be the generation that makes the following proclamations:
- What we did as a nation was wrong
- Slavery was wrong
- The Confederate Flag and Monuments represent a time in history we no longer identify with
- Black Americans were targeted, degraded and brutalized.. and that still continues today
- Prejudice is when someone says they are superior to another without merit or objective basis
Germany made similar proclamations for their comparable role in WWII. It is clearly taught in schools and widely condemned by every person in that country. There is no reason why our generation should not be able to do the same for no person today was alive during the Civil War or the height of the slave trade. This proclamation needs to be made by all Americans. The cycle of racism, police brutality, racial profiling, and violence against Blacks will continue until the nation as a whole can identify the lasting impact of this specific American sin and condemn prejudice when it happens – for out of prejudice germinate the seeds of racism.
As an immigrant, I could easily distance myself from the issue… I’ve never lynched or suffocated a Black person nor used a racial slur. But I can’t be a bystander and ignore the injustice. By accepting US citizenship, I embrace all that it entails. This is not a White or Black problem. This is an American problem and as long as it is happening in my generation and in my moment in time – it’s my problem.