Along with the rest of the country, we have watched in dismay as events continue to unfold following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
His death was the most recent reminder of the epidemic of systemic racism that continues to plague our society. Before that it was Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald and many others.
We now stand face to face with the ugly truth that black lives continue to be taken with little or no consequence. We now know that we will never heal our nation’s deep wounds by remaining silent.
Responses and recent actions by the president of the United States have only exacerbated the intensity of this situation, have threatened the liberties of all Americans, and have attempted to divide us, rather than unite us.
We of the Wilkes County Democratic Party wish to make our position clear:
Racism and violence toward others on the basis of race or color is never acceptable.
We recognize the centuries-old pandemic of systemic racism and are committed to rectifying it through education, sustained activism, constructive action, and continued progress toward liberty, justice and equality for all people.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to correct the wrongs of institutional racism, state-sanctioned violence against blacks, and fight for racial justice and equality for all.
We fully support “the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” as defined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
We reject the use of violence against persons or property, either as a means of protest or as a weapon against peaceful demonstrators.
We stand in disbelief and anger at the president’s deployment of our military and the unjustified forceful clearing of lawfully assembled citizens from Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. We denounce the president’s use of a church and a Bible as a backdrop and prop for a self-aggrandizing photo opportunity.
We stand in support of General Mattis, General Allen, General Colin Powell and other military leaders in their condemnation of use of force by the U.S. military on its own citizens.
We find the characterization of assembly and protest areas as “battle spaces to be dominated” extremely alarming. This is the language of dictatorship, fascism and authoritarianism.
We stand opposed to the practices of racial gerrymandering, racially motivated voter suppression and voter intimidation.
We endorse the statements of former Vice President Joe Biden that we are currently in “a battle for the soul of America”, and that we are facing formidable enemies which include not only the coronavirus and the terrible impacts on Americans’ lives and livelihoods, but also the hatred and fear that have loomed over our national life for the last three years.
Each of us must search our hearts and minds for our own responses. Will we give in to the forces of anger, hatred, fear and division?
Or will we reject those forces, reach out to those who are different from us, and make a commitment to move forward together as a nation?
Those of us in the Wilkes County Democratic Party have made our decision. We will continue to embrace inclusion and diversity, address the wrongs of the past, seek to understand one another, support constructive change, and do our part to form a more harmonious union in these United States.
If you feel the same way, we invite you to join us.
Wilkes County Democratic Party
Kathryn Charles, chair,