By Anne Price, President
Originally published in Insight Center’s November 2016 Newsletter.
The work of progress is never straightforward and linear. There are untold stops and starts, setbacks, obstacles — so many opportunities to grow disheartened but so many more reasons to push ahead.
American history has shown that whenever we have seen progress among people of color and religious minorities, it has been met with a backlash.
We are facing a new kind of post-Reconstruction era in this country that reflects new racial and ethnic fears, economic anxieties, and a “turning point in white identity” that could shape our nation for years to come.
Urgency takes on new meaning in this climate. The importance of our collective work is as great as ever. We can’t forget that we too arose from past generations that lived through the gains and losses of struggle — for their dignity and basic human and civil rights.
We won’t be discouraged, dragged into the past, or denied a future of our own making.
We will challenge those who try to divide us. We will walk in a way that the world can see that we are not going back. We will work toward turning dominant fear into our shared empowerment.
We have a vision for America: a society where the ability to take care of your family and to pass on opportunities for the next generation are not pre-determined by where you live, the color of your skin, or the social status and historical advantages of your ancestors.
Our vision is noble, and our work is vital, just, and dignified.
Prior to Election Day, we embarked on a path of exposing the hidden truths that form the scaffolding of an unjust society — unearthing the roots of social and governmental structures that have been infused with bias and discrimination based on race, class, and gender.
We are now called to expose not only historical truths that continue to inflict harm, but to shine a light on systems of discrimination as they are being built anew, to prevent the formation of new and added structures that would damage this and future generations.
Economic inequality remains the central issue of our generation, and we, as a society, must take a hard and honest look at how inequities intersect along lines of race and class. And we must do this with an eye toward the constructive, rather than destructive. True opportunity — true greatness — is built through inclusion and empowerment, not exclusion and marginalization.
This moment calls out to us. Now more than ever, we push ahead with urgency and clarity of purpose to expose the intolerance and hate that would corrupt our social structures and perpetuate the inequitable systems that assign privilege to some communities while undermining others. Only our vigilance, our courage in the face of ugliness and hate, can build a better future for all American families.