The revolution starts here

After a few decades of a whole lot of people pretending that racism really wasn’t much of a problem in our society any longer, it appears that we all must wake up to the consequences of our apathy and lack of attention.

We no longer have “colored only” drinking fountains and lunch counters, true, and discrimination in housing and employment are prohibited by law. However, the base ingredients of racism – fear, ignorance and hate – can’t be eliminated by a piece of legislation. They are alive and well, and seem to be growing more prevalent as the atmosphere in our country becomes more divisive and less tolerant.

In the North Boroughs, we have heard reports of racist language and behavior, but most have shrugged them off as isolated incidents in our fairly diverse and very safe community. We have watched as hate shattered other cities and towns across the country, and we have juggled our concerns with the daily barrage of news that makes so many sick to their stomachs as we try to handle the many threats that appear daily to everything from our health care to national security.

Then we got slapped in the face. A gang of skinheads came into our community and attacked one of our own. For any number of people, that nagging buzz of concern about racism became a much more visceral scream of fear and anger.

We, of course, looked for ways to relieve those feelings. We looked for someone to blame, be it the police, government in general, Donald Trump or billionaire Republicans. While all of those things, and more, have a part in institutionalized racism and the emboldened actions of those who subscribe to the KKK philosophy, there is one more place we have to look. We have to look inside ourselves.

On a daily basis, we have to challenge ourselves, our biases, and those of everyone around us. Each of us has to be a missionary of sorts, spreading our own message of intolerance – No one has the right to terrorize another human being simply because of the color of their skin or their place of birth or their religion or their gender or the gender of the person they love or…

Start in your own neighborhood, reaching out to those who have learned the hard way that the world around them is a frightening place.

Then go to the polls in November and vote out every single elected official running for office who has allowed or contributed to our world becoming so ugly.

We need a revolution. Let it start on your front porch.