Democracy Alliance President
This is the height of the political season, with the two party conventions taking place later this month. But platforms and Vice-Presidential selections aside, in a year when the electoral stakes have never been higher, there is a palpable sense among many that something much deeper is roiling us, going to the heart of who we are as a nation, and whether the central question of the Civil War – can a house divided against itself stand? – is a fresh and urgent one.
Thanks to the imminent elevation of a racist demagogue, whose central stances are the deportation of Muslims and a wall to keep out Mexicans, as the head of what was once Lincoln’s party, nothing less than core American values and norms are on the ballot in November.
But these questions are also playing out in the streets. The Black Lives Matter movement turned three this week, having altered the national discourse and goaded the public conscience. But at a moment when not one, but two Black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were gunned down by police within days, there is raw anger that the killing goes on and the systems and structures that shield it goes on too. The despicable act of a sniper in murdering five police officers covering a peaceful protest gave license to the Rudy Giulianis of the world to defame protests as “hate speech,” and Donald Trump, bidding to outdo both Richard Nixon and George Wallace, now runs as the “law and order” candidate, openly backed by white supremacists and anti-semites whose vitriol he does little to discourage and disavow.
It is a very challenging time, and I’m proud that the organizations backed by Democracy Alliance donors are front and center in working for justice and change, including Judith Browne Dianis of Advancement Project and Rashad Robinson of ColorofChange, who were part of the meeting the President called at the White House this week to work toward solutions and find common ground where possible.
DA-Recommended Groups Address the Violence in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and Dallas:
- Advancement Project published a best-practices guide for journalists covering Dallas;
- The American Constitution Society published a guest column by a professor and former Boston police officer, and another on the toxic effect of the NRA on policing;
- The Center for American Progress issued a statement on Dallas, and another on the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile;
- The Center for Community Change declared “We need to rethink the role of police in our lives”;
- ColorofChange called for defunding police departments that don’t value black lives;
- Heather McGhee of Demos went on MSNBC to address the week of violence;
- And PICO National Network’s faith leaders weighed in on Dallas and on the officer-involved shootings.