Racial Unity Team salutes the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis, one of the great moral and political leaders of our lifetimes. As a young man he was beaten and nearly killed, both as a Freedom Rider daring to integrate interstate buses and in the famous 1965 civil rights march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He became one of the longest-serving members of the House of Representatives, where he was an unwavering advocate for universal freedom and dignity. He never lost his faith in democracy and nonviolent direct action as the most powerful engines of beneficial social and political change.
Moreover, despite his long and deep experience of racist violence and hatred, he never faltered in his belief that non-violence was not a tactic or strategy but a way of being in the world, one that called him to a continuous affirmation of love toward all persons.
He will remain in our memory and our hearts as one of the truest and most inspiring models of unshakable humanity.
To watch the video "Remembering John Lewis" click on his image.
June 3, 2020
The horror of watching one black man’s life being choked off requires outrage. The violence and inhumanity that killed George Floyd, minute after minute, is the lens through which we see the terrible force of structural racism in our communities, our institutions and our nation. Every screen shot is witness to its brutality in what appears to have become common occurrence today - contempt for the life of a person of color.
The resulting fury — first locally, now nationally and internationally — expresses our collective grief in a moment of solidarity, but it also captures the essence of my anger and frustration and makes me ask what more can I do?
People of color, immigrants, Native Americans, people in prisons, the poor — the ones suffering and dying in greater numbers because of COVID-19 — bear the brunt of racial inequity in this country. That is why I will get up tomorrow and for as long as I can to continue the work we began as part of the Racial Unity Team in New Hampshire. And we need your help more than ever.
It is past time for much larger numbers of white citizens to stand up for the multi-racial, equitable society the United States has claimed to be. More people need to understand the country's actual history, including its complexities and its terrible burdens of racist violence and exclusion. It is those blind to racial inequity who worry us the most and to whom we also need to reach out. The Racial Unity Team needs your support and involvement in this work. Exeter needs your help, our teachers in our schools need your help, and more importantly our nation needs your help to raise up a generation of young people who are not only not racist but who are actively anti-racist.
For those of you with children and grandchildren, I call on you to start that conversation about race with your young children so we have hope for the future of this country that we all love so much.
Chair Board of Directors
Racial Unity Team