Perhaps I have been wrong, and need to reconsider my stance on the futility of fighting human behavior at its worst. True, our government is hopelessly broken and corrupt, and large swaths of the population seem quite happy with that state of affairs. The concept that all men are created equal seems as ridiculously antiquated and out of touch now as it did in 1776. And let’s not forget our founders saw fit to leave women out of the equation. This country made it quite clear what it’s core beliefs were in the last national election. There is a sad ring of truth to George Carlin’s statement that “This country was bought and paid for a long, long time ago.” And yet…
“I refuse to believe that it’s hopeless because I am a product of what can happen when you fight,”… “If we don’t fight, who’s going to fight?” asks Anthony Ray Hinton, who spent 28 years on Alabama’s death row after being wrongly convicted of two murders by an all-white jury.
A lynching memorial is opening in Montgomery, Alabama tomorrow, April 26, 2018. Reporter Campbell Robinson writes: “The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opens Thursday on a six-acre site overlooking the Alabama state capital, is dedicated to the victims of American white supremacy. And it demands a reckoning with one of the nation’s least recognized atrocities: the lynching of thousands of black people in a decades-long campaign of racist terror.” (From the New York Times article “A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It,” by Campbell Robinson, April 25, 2018.) The article goes on to state that records of of 4,400 lynchings have been verified so far.
“You might feel judged yourself,” asks Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit organization behind the memorial. Many of the victims have never been named. “What are you going to do?”
I honestly don’t know, but I feel compelled to do something. Acknowledging how wrong racism is in all of its manifestations just doesn’t seem sufficient.
The Lynching Memorial is a start, though. It shines a light and says, look! – look closely at what white people did. This happened. And it’s still happening, just in different forms. What are we going to do to stop it?
What am I going to do to stop it?