This past weekend we witnessed the country at its worst. We saw images of racist, violent protests rivaling the 1960s. And while we espouse that there’s no place for this in America, we must accept that this behavior is a reality in America. But it doesn’t have to be. The white nationalists and neo-Nazis who took to the streets to spread hatred, intolerance and anger are examples of the insidious racism and xenophobia pervading the country. Most of us condemn these most obvious displays of hatred, but racism often doesn’t announce itself so clearly.
Structural inequalities and implicit biases work quietly against people of color daily – particularly young people who have their promise and potential stripped from them. While numerous leaders in our country have spoken up against the actions, true course correction requires more than denouncing a singular display of bigotry. It requires those who speak to us and for us to dismantle the systems that have allowed this kind of hate and intolerance to breed. It's up to all of us to hold our political and cultural leaders accountable, and for each and every one of us to be part of the solution.