Watching the news has been heartbreaking for many.
Patricia and I listened in silence as we saw United States Park Police and National Guard troops use pepper spray, pellets, and tear gas on peaceful protestors, the news media, first aid station volunteers, and an 80-year-old priest – all for a photo opportunity. My thoughts were many and coming from many directions, but with one common theme: we must address the senseless murder of George Floyd and the countless others who have lost their lives to police brutality and systemic racism, and we must continue the Black activism for full political, social, and economic rights under the umbrella of the civil rights movement.
Running Strong and I are committed to aligning our words to our actions. We understand the most meaningful change comes from listening to a community, and letting them tell us what they need most. Right now, what we can offer our Black brothers and sisters is solidarity, our hands in theirs as we acknowledge and act upon the long and painful history and reality of Black existence in America. Eliminating racism at the individual, local, and organized levels means speaking and acting against it every single day.
When I was sworn in as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, I took an oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is clear today that systemic racism is our most insidious domestic enemy. Focusing on justice for all and equality for all is what will mature our country to the sacredness that our flag represents – but that currently our laws do not.
I call on you today to use the resources at your disposal, whether time, attention, donation, or platform. Stand with me to help realize a fair and just tomorrow for our Black brothers and sisters, as well as the many other of our forgotten whose cries we only hear. We are all related.