As we react and respond to the demonstrations, horror and pain witnessed in Charlottesville over the weekend – knowing full well that it could also have happened here in Charlotte – Community Building Initiative (CBI) adds its voice to those of others who refuse to be silent. We know that the rising chants of white supremacy and the advancement of neo-Nazi ideology have for too long remained insufficiently challenged within the bedrock of the American experience. Too many of our fellow Americans have had their lives held back and their futures diminished by overt and covert hatred, racism and discrimination. We cannot deny that this is part of their American experience and that this reality infects the American psyche.
This does not need to be the future of our country. We know our country can work for everyone. We know it must.
We add our voices to the many who stand opposed to systemic racism, sexism, xenophobia, classism and discrimination in all its forms. We affirm our commitment to promoting inclusion and ending inequities, to changing the systems too long embedded in our structures that disadvantage groups and individuals. We applaud the Governor of Virginia, the mayor of Charlottesville and the courage of people who have spoken at local, regional and national rallies. We acknowledge the expressions of shock and disbelief and the shared vulnerability that comes from seeing cars as weapons in an adjacent state and not on a bridge in London or on the streets of Nice.
There is much for all of us to do. We must decide what we stand for and with whom we stand. We must speak up, speak out and take action. For those questioning the events as they unfold to those who seek to better understand the history we have often hidden and disguised, we offer dialogues and intentional exchanges to increase understanding and connection. To those ready to lead change, we offer strategic help to connect with networks of change.
Community Building Initiative calls on all of its partners and alumni to examine where they are and what they can do – and to reach out to one another for strategic support and with opportunities for involvement and to let us know what you are doing and how we can reinforce your efforts and our collective resolve.
“Men too often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they do not know each other; they do not know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.” MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., 1958