Ending the systemic racism that plagues our country – and rebuilding our communities where the police and citizens all see themselves as being on the same side – will require contributions from all of us. White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk – talk about the seen and unseen barriers you face every day. We need to try, as best we can, to walk in one another’s shoes – to imagine what it would be like if people followed us around stores, or locked their car doors when we walked past. Or if every time our children went to play in the park, or went for a ride, or just to the store to buy iced tea and Skittles, we said a prayer –‘Please, God – please, God – don’t let anything happen to my baby.’
And let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to a dangerous job we need them to do. When gunfire broke out yesterday night, and everyone ran to safety, the police officers ran the other way – into the gunfire. That’s the kind of courage our police and first responders show every single day somewhere across America.