We are shaken and saddened by the horrifying hatred and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The blatant expressions of racism and ant-Semitism–culminating with the death of a demonstrator and two police officers–evoke a time that some thought we had left behind.
But for many, these events have only exposed the reality that always existed. Pennsylvania’s grossly unequal and inadequate funding for public education is even more unfair when factoring in the race of children. Disproportionate arrests and incarceration of men and women of color lead to lifetime consequences as background checks bar them from employment, even after they have paid their debts to society. For black families, it is evictions—legal and not legal—that lead to a lifelong record, making it ever harder to find decent, affordable places to live. Whole communities of color are subjected to indifferent, or even malicious destruction of their air and water and soil as companies exploit their access to political power.
It does not have to be this way; and we like to think that this is not what America is. Perhaps, with the scab pulled off, the open wound of Charlottesville will spur us all to dismantle the injustices around us. We commend the business and political leaders across the nation who have already spoken out. We urge those who have not yet done so to take a hard look, acknowledge the reality around us and demand that racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and domestic terrorism stop. Hate is unacceptable. Indifference is no longer an option.