Dear Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Family —
Saturday in Charlottesville, VA, we witnessed people expressing hatred of many of our values, including peace and equity. We also witnessed a violent tragedy at the hands of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. We express our deepest sorrow and are keeping the counter-protesters and their families in our hearts. Words cannot fully capture the anguish, grief, and anger we feel.
Incidents of racism, misogyny, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant sentiment has been increasing in recent months. Domestic hate groups are emboldened by a political climate that not only refuses to condemn repulsive acts of intimidation on certain populations, but also encourages it with a nod and a wink.
However, we are encouraged. We are encouraged because we saw people standing in solidarity with the counter-protesters through demonstrations and vigils and protests all over the country in response. We are encouraged because we have been through this before. Every social, legal, civil, and human rights movement has been met with fierce opposition by those benefiting from the status quo. While we have a long way to go to achieve equity and justice for all, we have made progress with every generation.
This alarming confrontation tells us that we must be vigilant. We cannot get complacent about discrimination or dismiss someone’s biases as harmless sentiments. Previous movements have taught us that it is in our power to do something. And we have a responsibility to address an environment that justifies treating one group as inferior to another group
The KFLA Family is strong and talented. We know some Kellogg Fellows are already busy at work but we thought we would provide some ideas for what to do after this brazen display of bigotry: attend counter-rallies, donate to grassroots organizing groups, volunteer with advocacy organizations, write to your representatives, correct people when you overhear them saying something wrong or offensive, call your family and friends to check-in on them, and/or convene a conversation at church, school, or in a coffee shop. Please let us know what you are doing.
Finally, take care of yourself. This work is long and hard and can be draining. Call us if you need to talk. We are here to help.