This bond of our human brothers and sisters is essential in our causes for human rights, and our efforts to work for justice of every kind in our representative democracies. The path to change has been a continuing victory of compassion over hate. In the United States, that unequivocal struggle for compassion has required an organized, ideologically consistent and responsible forced to struggle against hate and injustice. Our history shows that these partners in compassion for racial justice have come from every group, race, nationality, background, religion, profession, and walk of life. It has and must continue to be a national struggle for racial justice.
Our fellow human beings don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. The growing violence in America over racial justice issues brings another moment of crystal clarity to our nation, as something unshakably wrong that must change. We cannot simply ignore it, avoid it, and wish it away. The dead bodies of our fellow Americans, of every race, are there, and their blood has been in the street. Yet we have those praising killers and calling for more violence. We have those who seek to harden lines of hatred towards other Americans.
We have those in denial of justice issues. We have those who openly praise those who would terrorize, injure, and murder the public representatives of our law enforcement. Those consumed by rage and anger no longer remember, and no longer care, that these victims are their fellow Americans and fellow human beings. America has faced similar moments before.
In August 1964, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles after riots resulted in the death of 34 Americans and the destruction of $40 million in property damage. As Dr. King recounts, one of those supporting the riots told him “We Won!” Dr. King asked him “what do you mean, ‘we won’? Thirty-some people dead, all but two are Negroes. You’ve destroyed your own. What do you mean ‘we won’? And he said, ‘We made them pay attention to us.'” Dr. King pointed out: “When people are voiceless, they will have temper tantrums like a little child who has not been paid attention to. And riots are massive temper tantrums from a neglected and voiceless people.”