In June of 1964, three civil rights workers were murdered by the KKK in Neshoba County, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Movement.

The three young men, Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi, had been working with the “Freedom Summer Campaign” attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote.

Forty-one years later, in 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was charged and eventually convicted for his part in the crimes.

“MISSISSIPPI BURNING”

The 1988 classic film “Mississippi Burning” is loosely based on the FBI’s investigation of the murders. At the end of the movie, the character of Mayor Tillman commits suicide after being interrogated by the FBI. The suicide caused one of the agents to say: “I don’t understand why he did it. He wasn’t in on it. He wasn’t even Klan.”

The other agent replied: “Anyone’s guilty who lets these things happen and pretend like it isn’t. No, he was guilty all right. Just as guilty as the fanatics who pulled the trigger. Maybe we all are.”

“Anyone’s guilty who lets these things happen and pretend like it isn’t. No, he was guilty all right. Just as guilty as the fanatics who pulled the trigger. Maybe we all are.”

“Maybe we all are.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Can anyone explain what happened Saturday in Charlottesville?

We have thousands of people marching, carrying Nazi flags, chanting over and over, “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.”

Thousands of people were marching with Nazi flags in our country!

David Duke, the former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, attended the illicit gathering, fueling the bigotry and hatred of the White Supremacists.

“We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

Then James Alex Fields Jr., 20, turns his hatred into violent actions, plowing his car, allegedly, into a crowd of people protesting against the White Supremists rally.

Heather D. Heyer, 32, from Charlottesville was killed as a result of the senseless and violent act of terror. The New York Times described here as a paralegal who “was a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised and was often moved to tears by the world’s injustices.”

19 others were injured.

ARE WE ALL TO BLAME?

It’s easy to condemn the violence. It’s easy to say we would never do such a thing.

I believe that to be true.

But what are we saying when we stand silent, ignoring intolerance, veiled racism, or hatred disguised as patriotism?

Social media is filled with rants of intolerance and hatred. Political affiliation has created a chasm of difference. Mutual understanding and compromising are dying a fast death.

It’s time to lay aside our differences. It’s time to bridge the gap of misunderstanding. It’s time to replace hatred with love. It’s time to accept. It’s time to heal.

It’s time to realize the next generation, our children, and our grandchildren, are watching what we do and what we say.

They notice when we cuss the news commentators. They read what we post. They see the difference between what we say and what we do.

Maybe the FBI agent in “Mississippi Burning” was correct. If we turn a blind eye, pretend racism, hatred, and bigotry don’t exist, maybe “we’re all guilty.”

Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share.

Les

p.s. Take 13 minutes today to talk about what happened in Charlottesville, and why it matters.


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2 comments

  1. Madison Austin
    Madison Austin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What a great point made in this article. It can be easy to turn a blind eye to intolerance and say “i’m not the one doing it, so i’m not guilty.” But, it’s not always easy to do the right thing. We should stand up against hatred and bigotry and show brotherly love to all.

    1. There are so many individual and unique ways we can stand up and show that brotherly love. You have done so just by recognizing that you can. Sometimes it can be as simple as sharing the gift of a hello or a friendly smile. Thanks Madison for sharing your thoughts!

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