Letter: Let’s eliminate racism, celebrate diversity

To the editor:

In response to the recent horrific events in Charlottesville, when a white supremacist killed and injured protesters, we feel compelled to write this letter, and to reject this violence and all that white supremacist groups stand for.

While news of the attack is shocking, the attitudes of these groups have long been a part of this country’s history and need to be challenged. We who share the same skin color as the people in these organizations bear a great responsibility to speak out against these groups and at the same time support efforts to heal the deep wounds caused by racist attitudes and actions.

These racist actions and attitudes commit violence against all people in our country. Whether it be the quick violence of the attack in Charlottesville, or the slow violence of discrimination and poverty, this violence ultimately damages the freedom we value as a society.

People of color continue to experience intimidation and lack of respect in ways that are present in communities everywhere, urban and rural. For example, we have a family member who is African-American. He no longer feels free to visit his grandmother’s house because her neighbor displays a Confederate flag, a symbol of a society that espoused slavery and deprived people of their God-given dignity. If we ignore this symbol and its historical context, we fail to recognize the racism that denies freedom for all of us.

Another example is the Doctrine of Discovery, a 500-year-old decree that condoned the invasion of the Americas, the subjugation of indigenous peoples, and the taking of their land and resources. The violence and dispossession that resulted from this doctrine are still deeply felt today.

We can change things for the better. We can lift up the values of respect and freedom for all people and become part of the healing that needs to take place, if we choose to work against racism and to celebrate diversity.

Diversity is one of the things we personally value living here in Shawano. We learn and grow in understanding as we form relationships and work with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Each of us brings our unique strengths for the betterment of our community.

Eliminating racism, celebrating diversity, recognizing individual dignity, and building community – that was our call and our responsibility to each other before Charlottesville, but even more so moving forward.

Dan and Laura Robinson,