There are many people of color and their allies who hear “Make America Great Again” and shudder.
Is it intended to refer to economic progress for all? To enhancing our country’s status on the world stage?
Or, as many of us understand, does it mean going backwards in time when white-Christian supremacy was a matter of fact, and the rest of us knew “our place.”
During the Q/A portion of a keynote speech I gave last week for the Opportunity Coalition in Denver, I was asked whom I most wanted to interview. My answer was: Dr. Martin Luther King. Not just to ask him about the turbulent 60’s and the Civil Rights Movement but more importantly to ask him about today. In the 21st Century we are still dealing with hatred in multiple forms: racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia.
Sadly, I won’t ever get the chance to ask the man who brought millions from all walks of life together in search of peace why this ugly cancer called hate still exists in this otherwise amazing country. The fact is racism never went away in the land of free. It was simply swept under the rug, out of sight. That is until we started tripping over it.
Overt racism started to rear it’s ugly head again when we elected the first Black President of the United States. Then, we elected a president who legitimized hate by showcasing the views of the alt-right right and including racists in his Cabinet.
And speaking from his golf club in New Jersey recently President Trump condemned the violence in Charlottesville Virginia “on many sides.” Excuse me? Is there a moral side to white supremacy?
But, look. I’m not putting the blame solely on the current administration. We are all in this 240+ year old boat together. And dauntingly racism has been around in this country in one form or another for all that time.
The place to start is to be honest about how we are showing up in the world.
I challenge you – as I have committed myself - to find your own unique way to make a positive difference in the world. Are you fighting hate with hate? Or are you shining your light by finding sustainable, impactful ways to make the world a more peaceful and equitable place?
As Dr. King said:
“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, 'Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.”