Commentary by Terri Lee Freeman
President, National Civil Rights Museum
Three mornings this week we’ve awakened to news of horrific violence. Three incidents. Seven people dead. Two dead from police violence. Five dead from retaliation. 36 hours. Senseless. My heart grieves for every family that has suddenly lost a loved one. My heart grieves for our nation.
We are living in perilous times. Times where individuals have become emboldened in their hate and comfortable with spewing hateful rhetoric. Times where some people revel in violence and encourage it. Thanks to social media we know what’s happening anywhere in the world -- LIVE!
So much of this tragic, senseless violence is based on fear, hate and a lack of understanding. And it's escalating. We must look each other in the eye, respectfully, and get clarification for the things we don’t understand. We must get beyond the profile – skin color, blue uniform, sexual orientation, religious affiliation – and recognize our humanness and connectedness. We must see each other as having value.
We are nearly 50 years from the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He dedicated his life to peace, and sacrificed his life for us. What are we doing? What is the message in this senseless violence? When will we learn that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind? We must come to terms with our differences and our sameness and respect all human life.
As we wrestle with the events of this week, the tragedy in Orlando last month, in South Carolina last year (so many to name - New York, Cleveland, Chicago), and the senseless violence that is reported every night on the evening news, we ask why and when will it end.
Beginning today, at the National Civil Rights Museum, we want to hear from you. We want to know what your questions are and how you think we can stem this violence and value every life. Join us in creating a living exhibit of your thoughts, feelings and solutions.