NAACP stead­fast and im­mov­able in the fight against dis­crim­i­na­tion, prej­u­dice and ha­tred

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Jan­ice T. Walthour, Cal­i­for­nia The writer is the pres­i­dent of the St. Mary’s County Branch NAACP, Unit 7025.

The lo­cal St. Mary’s County Branch NAACP Unit 7025 ex­presses whole­heart­edly the sen­ti­ments of this state­ment re­leased by our Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion fol­low­ing the un­law­ful hate rally of white na­tion­al­ists in Char­lottesville, Va. “The bla­tant racism on dis­play in Char­lottesville is ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing. It’s hard to be­lieve that in 2017 we are still plagued by so much race-based ha­tred.” The St. Mary’s County Branch con­curs with Der­rick John­son, in­terim pres­i­dent of the Na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion that at all lev­els, “The NAACP will al­ways stand against hate and any per­sons who threaten the moral right of our com­mu­nity.” “These kinds of ac­tions should come as no sur­prise, how­ever. We are liv­ing un­der an ad­min­is­tra­tion that cam­paigned on ha­tred, dis­crim­i­na­tion and xeno­pho­bia. They have given per­mis­sion and a plat­form for big­ots, like the right-wing, white na­tion­al­ists in Char­lottesville, to thrive and spread vi­o­lence.”

We ac­knowl­edge Pres­i­dent Trump’s dis-a vow ment of the ha­tred which re­sulted in the loss of life in Char­lottesville. How­ever, the sen­ti­ments he ex­pressed in his most re­cent com­ments on these is­sues are un­ac­cept­able and con­tinue to pro­mote di­vi­sive­ness and spew re­sent­ment on “all sides.” While Trump has taken the tan­gi­ble step to re­move Steve Ban­non from his team of ad­vis­ers, the blight of white na­tion­al­ism con­tin­ues to plague our na­tion. Sym­bols of the Con­fed­er­acy in our com­mu­ni­ties for many rep­re­sent in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about the his­tory of the Con­fed­er­acy. Those who protest the re­moval of these sym­bols un­der the guise that they rep­re­sent “her­itage, not hate” ig­nore the near-uni­ver­sal her­itage of African-Amer­i­cans whose an­ces­tors were en­slaved in the South. It triv­i­al­izes their pain, their his­tory and their con­cerns about racism — whether it’s the racism of the past or that of to­day. There is no doubt among rep­utable his­to­ri­ans that the Con­fed­er­acy was es­tab­lished upon the premise of white supremacy and that the South fought the Civil War to pre­serve its slave la­bor. It’s also be­yond ques­tion that the Con­fed­er­ate flag was used ex­ten­sively by the Ku Klux Klan as it waged a cam­paign of ter­ror against African-Amer­i­cans dur­ing the civil rights move­ment and that seg­re­ga­tion­ists in po­si­tions of power raised it in de­fense of Jim Crow.

Moral lead­er­ship from the court house to the White House is paramount. Vig­i­lance in pro­tect­ing the rights of all now more than is crit­i­cal to our democ­racy. Lo­cal, state and Na­tional lead­ers must work to­gether to en­sure that the “great” United States of Amer­ica will be­come even greater. Pres­i­dent John­son con­tin­ues with, “We must help to bridge what di­vides Amer­i­cans rather than widen the gap be­tween us.

In the mean­time, the NAACP stands strong with our broth­ers and sis­ters in Char­lottesville and all who are gath­er­ing, march­ing and singing for peace. We are and will con­tinue to be stead­fast and im­mov­able in the fight against dis­crim­i­na­tion, prej­u­dice and ha­tred — and we are not afraid.”

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