My late mother lived up to her profession as an educator by making sure I knew about the world, my family, and my ethnicity. “You have a heritage,” she repeatedly said to me from childhood until I was a grown woman with children of my own. And a moment wouldn’t pass without Gwendolyn Charleston Copeland making sure that I honored my heritage by respecting myself, my family, and those in my community.
As annoying as it may have been to endure that cultural education from my mother, I would soon realize that she was also fortifying my Blackness from the discrimination I was bound to face in my lifetime. Her lessons, stories, and patient leadership helped me to endure the worst, ignore petty trivialities, value significant moments, and confront injustice on every occasion.
My mother’s teachings helped me to become a proud African American woman. I have never been confused about my ethnicity, my family, and certainly not my heritage. And being an African American has empowered me to pursue opportunities with excitement and enthusiasm, even if layers of discrimination are littered along the way.
Much of my 34 years as a business owner and diversity professional have been spent helping organizations to build better cross-cultural bridges of mutual understanding. I have traveled all over America and to several other countries using that framework with my work. I speak on topics other than global diversity and multiculturalism, including leadership, empowerment, and relationship enhancement.
I also have memberships in several civic and professional organizations and have served in several leadership roles throughout the years. Last week I was asked to deliver a workshop on the importance of accountability, relationships, and reputation to one of the organizations I have enjoyed membership in for many years.
I prepared for the session several days before the event and made a point that my slide deck was racially neutral, inclusive, informative, and educational. The session kicked off on Zoom, and the exchange of information fueled an active dialogue with some 25 participants eager to learn. I was the final speaker in the organization’s six-week summer series, and it felt good to contribute in such a meaningful way.
Near the end of the program, as the breakout room facilitators were sharing the comments from their small groups, one voice blurted out the N-word, loud enough for everyone to hear.
I was the only Black person in attendance, and the word pierced my level of concentration so loudly that you would think I had been hit with a virtual shotgun straight between the eyes.
Early on in the program, I had been made a co-host. I frantically worked to mute the assailant, to no avail. I could not mute him. Finally, seconds later, the chapter president removed the hate-filled person from the Zoom meeting. I looked at the stunned faces of my colleagues on the screen and knew I had to speak up and speak out about what had just happened. My voice was unwavering, and I told the group that I needed to address the “elephant in the room” as we processed what had just happened. I remained calm and told the group the outburst was merely a validation of why my diversity work was so important in our society. Racism was alive and well, and we had just witnessed the ugliness of its actions.
The chapter president and her board activated swiftly. As the Zoom host, she was also unable to mute the participant but was able to quickly remove him from the session. She apologized profusely, denounced his action, and send a letter to the workshop attendees banning his membership in our organization for life. The chapter also offered to make a contribution in my name to the nonprofit of my choice. They said NO to the N-word and NO to hate.
The chapter president did reach out to the N-word assailant. He was a non-member and had attended the previous five sessions, so he wasn’t your typical hit-and-run Zoom bomber. He offered no remorse, stated that he blurted out the word when his mobile phone discharged and never apologized.
I realized at that moment three things:
1. This is why my mother worked so hard to teach me about my heritage.
2. Some people will never accept my Blackness.
3. To some, using the N-word on Black people is a way to devalue their humanity.
My reaction to these three truths include the following:
1. My mother’s wisdom lives defiantly in my spirit. That includes the messages of my father, brother, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and ancestors who came before me.
2. Ignorance and hatred fuel racism, and those who can’t accept Black people, especially in leadership positions, are a hindrance to the growth of America.
3. You can’t take away my Blackness, and you’ll NEVER devalue my humanity!
That Zoom workshop was the third time in my life I recall being called the N-word. Sadly, I know it won’t be the last. However, I know that Gwen Copeland lives on in my spirit, and my work will live on.
Racism will not stop our need to build new bridges of cultural understanding throughout our country and beyond. My Blackness has been fortified, and when the next N-word comes my way, I’ll be ready with the right response and call to action.
Bring it on! You can’t stop my work, my dedication, or my determination to bring cultural change to our country!
Bring it on!!
It was the international collaboration that made the difference. And the spirit of cooperation that keeps us moving forward. From the bottom of a grateful heart, I say THANK YOU to everyone who made our inaugural US UK Summit on RACE a complete success. The buzz continues bubbling over from our May 22nd virtual endeavor, and the new opportunities for growth and development are emerging with exciting speed and enthusiasm.
To date, more than 250 people from ten countries have participated or watched the US UK Summit on Race. New relationships have formed, and burning questions discussed and explored as a direct result of the Summit.
Words can only express my deep appreciation for every speaker who delivered a heartfelt and deeply reflective presentation on the issues.
Detective Larry Ellison - US
Leila McKenzie-Delis - UK
Professor Martin Levermore - UK
Former Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden - US
Rev. Dr. Karla Cooper - US
Diana Wong, Ph.D. - US
Her Excellency Dr. Justina Mutale - UK
Professor Geoff Thompson, MBE. FRSA, DL - UK
We didn’t just hear our fabulous speakers, then pack up and end the Summit. We dug deeper with our Breakout Sessions that were moderated by 11 amazing Facilitators who teased out perspectives rarely discussed between advocates in the US and the UK.
Sophia Khan - US
Jennifer Perkins - US
Cris Ajemian - US
Dr. Lorna Thomas Farquharson - US
Mesha Mott - US
Tracey Gore - UK
Valton Henderson - US
Francisco Carrasco - UK
Julayne Lee - US
Joseph Mukungu - UK
Carol Ann Whitehead - UK
I worked with three amazing professionals to launch the US UK Summit on Race. Our weekly meetings and endless emails have created a solid collaboration, discussing the issues, identifying relevant topics, and inviting experienced professionals to help create both the content and the resources in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Denise Gray Felder, Greater New York.
President of the Communication for Social Change Consortium
Garth Dallas, Liverpool, England, Attorney, Diversity Professional, and Anti-Racism expert on racial issues in the United Kingdom
William (Bill) Wells, Jr., Minneapolis, Minnesota, Past Chair, National Black MBA Association, Diversity Professional. Bill is actively involved with Minneapolis civic and business leaders responding to George Floyd’s death.
You can read all about the Speaker-Panelists here:
You can read all about the Facilitators here:
You can read all about the Organizers here:
Volunteers make our events run smoothly. Special THANKS to Michelle Thomas-Monteiro and Denise Willis Turner for all of the “backstage” behind the scenes support they gave to us on May 22nd, as they have given in so many previous events I have produced.
The Summit recordings will post later in June.
The next TWO Summits are scheduled for:
Thursday, August 19, 2021 - Small Group Discussions with a special spotlight on youth perspectives on Race
Saturday , October 2, 2021 - Another full US UK Summit on Race with a salute to Black History Month in the United Kingdom.
The best is yet to come. Thanks to everyone who made our inaugural event a roaring success. We have only just begun!
By Carole Copeland Thomas
I have been teaching and training racial, ethnic, and diversity topics for more than 30 years. Even though the language has changed from affirmative action strategies to diversity, equity, and inclusion incentives, the fundamentals are the same. People often fear those who are different from themselves and are controlled by that fear when making crucial personal and professional decisions.
The same is true about race. It's a simple social construct that has ruled American and British cultural norms for centuries. (Read my commentary about race by clicking HERE.) Yet, the fear factor about race grips our emotions and ends up often hurting, harassing, and hindering people who have brown or black skin.
That's why attending the US UK Summit on Race is so important. It's designed to discern racial fact from fiction so that you come away from our discussions with more clarity and confidence in how you approach this subject.
The US UK Summit on Race is designed to draw you into the conversation regardless of who you are or where you live. It will give you a unique opportunity to speak directly to someone from another country. You will have a chance to figure out if your perspective on race is sound, superficial, or just plain silly.
The Summit may make you uncomfortable, and if it does, congratulations. Discomfort is an important ingredient in growing toward a better awareness level in how to expand racial equity for all. The Summit may draw out raw emotions that will cause you to examine your own level of unconscious bias and how it impacts your colleagues, staff members, family, or friends.
The US UK Summit on Race is for anybody who doesn't have ALL of the answers to solve our social justice and societal issues. It's for the curious and the confused. It's for the anxious and for the apologetic. It's for the motivated and the misinformed. It's for those who are determined and those who are discouraged. It's for the eager and for those emerging from fake news, false promises, and faulty expectations.
The US UK Summit on Race is for truth-seekers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and all the continents under the sun.
Join us on Saturday, May 22nd, from 12:00 Noon to 3 pm EDT, and get ready to take off in a new direction where racial equity and cross-cultural understanding await you with open arms of inclusiveness. You'll find complete information at www.mssconnect.com.
I love India, the second-most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion inhabitants. (China is number one.)
I have traveled to India every year for the past seven years, with this year the only one where COVID kept me away. My last trip leading a group tour was last February 2020, right before the massive worldwide lockdown. Our adventure was phenomenal, and our memories of the food, the people, our friends, the city, and the countryside are etched in our hearts and minds to remind us of how beautiful this part of the world really is.
Our hosts for all of my trips to India, Reverends Abraham and Sarah Peddiny, live in Chennai, one of India's largest cities on the southeast coast of the country in the state of Tamil Nadu. They couldn't be more gracious, more loving, and more giving to their community and me.
COVID has now attacked the Peddinys and infected everyone in their household. By the grace of God, the family found a hospital for Rev Abraham Peddiny, where he's currently located, with oxygen pumping through his body to keep him alive. His wife, daughter, and family friends are now quarantined in their home until they recover.
Given that COVID is killing people all over India, I am grateful that my friends are alive and not dead on the streets somewhere in Chennai.
This is only one family unit in India. There are countless others who aren't so lucky, didn't find a hospital in time, and are now waiting in the queue to cremate their loved ones.
You've seen the news stories, photos, and video clips. Believe them and multiply them since some areas of the country are underreported.
Full Disclosure: I am fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine, and most of my immediate family in Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut and Florida have been vaccinated. I have also had two COVID tests, and both results were negative. And to top it off, I had a COVID antibody test, which tells if you have ever had COVID. It, too, was negative.
So you may ask, "If Carole is fully vaccinated, what's the big deal? Why should she care about what is happening about the rise and fall of the COVID crisis outside of the United States? More than 40% of adults in the US have had at least one of two vaccinations (Moderna and Pfizer require two vaccinations…J&J is only one vaccine). So isn't that enough?"
The answer is, "The plight of the world's future could very well rest in what happens in India. We are an interconnected planet. What happens in India could impact the US, UK, and Canada should another COVID wave break out in the coming months." We are in a worldwide pandemic that probably started in China, spread quickly to Europe, and flew with speed to the US. As a world event…we don't have the luxury to pick and choose the countries we should embrace or ignore.
That includes India. The country that COVID is now strangling with all its might. So what can you do? What can one person do?
ONE: Help the Peddiny Family. I started a fundraising campaign last week with a goal to raise at least $5000 to help them. As you can imagine, this health challenge was not planned for in the Peddiny Family budget, and some essential medical supplies, including oxygen, have skyrocketed in price. I have almost reached my goal. 100% of your donation will be sent to the Peddinys to help reduce their medical expenses caused by COVID. Any amount will help them. Your prayers will also help mightily. Please share this link with your friends who may also want to donate. https://bit.ly/3vlN7Dy
TWO: Watch The News
Get updated information on the crisis in India on international websites, including CNN: www.cnn.com, BBC: www.bbc.co.uk, and The Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/us. I find that the BBC gives some of the best news stories on international issues on the web.
THREE: Listen to Podcasts on the India COVID crisis. A good one I listen to is "India Explained." It is hosted by two Indian ex-pats—one living in London and the other in San Francisco. They will give you unvarnished insight into what's going on in their home country, including the political issues that impact the nation. Here's the link to the latest episode:
FOUR: Check in with your Indian friends in your community.
There is a new travel ban on India, and some travelers are stuck in the country trying to get back to the US, Canada, or England. And of course, those outside of India are worried sick about their relatives and friends back in their home country. Show you care. Call them up or talk to them at work. Brainstorm what you can do to help. Again we are one world, and now assisting Indian friends and family is needed more now than ever.
FIVE: Contact Congress and The White House. Call your US Senators and the White House and ask them to continue to send aid to India. Thank goodness, President Biden "gets it," and medical supplies, oxygen, and other humanitarian goods are being shipped to India. The irony is that India was a major vaccine producer, exporting some of its vaccines to parts of Africa. Not now. Less than 1% of Indians have been vaccinated. And India is under equipped even to take care of its own people.You do the math. They are overwhelmed with their current crisis and need all the help they can get. Here's a website to find the contact information for your state's US senators:
We are our brother and sister's keeper. Keeping an international eye on world situations is our best way to protect our planet. You can do good things in your own home, neighborhood, AND across the world. Don't become an isolationist. We're way too connected to simply think about our own backyard.
George Floyd would have been an ordinary statistic, so common an action that you wouldn't have paid him a second notice. He was the latest Black man in 2020 caught in a police trap with no exit. A misdemeanor allegation. A $20 fake bill. An apprehensive but somewhat cooperative suspect.
It was, after all, Memorial Day, and who should let their guard down on that auspicious holiday? It was Minneapolis, the land of the "Minnesota Nice," where racial confrontations are often not discussed in polite company.
"I Can't Breathe!"
Everyone knows what happened, how it happened, and the impact of what happened around the world. One black man pinned to a city street by the knee of a rogue police officer who listened to no-one. When George Floyd called out to his deceased mother, Officer Derek Chauvin refused to release the suspect. He kept pressing on Floyd's neck for nearly ten minutes. When George Floyd cried out, "I Can't Breathe!!" Chauvin used his white male police privilege and resolutely anchored his hold. Even the three police officers on hand did nothing to ease the tragedy. They were accomplices in a statistical murder that mattered little to them.
But it did matter to Darnella Fraizer. She was 17 years old on that day, with no photographic, videographer, or police training. A mere high school kid with a conscience bigger than Derek Chauvin or the three police goons put together. She simply took out her phone, clicked over to the video option, and pressed play. Her 9-year-old cousin, Judeah Reynolds, faithfully stood by and witnessed a police officer murdering a Black man. Darnella kept filming, Judeah gave moral support, and other witnesses did their part to dissuade the rogue cop from finishing off an unarmed Black man.
Darnella unknowingly was serving a higher purpose. She said, "When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. It's been nights I've stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. It's not what I should have done; it's what he should have done."
Baby cousin Judeah said, "I was sad and kind of mad, and it felt like it was stopping his breathing and it was hurting him. "
A 17 year old and a 9 year old. Offering more grace under fire than wealthy patrons with trunks filled with academic degrees.
These children had GUTS. They were BRAVE. They had COURAGE.
The rogue cops threatened to spray mace in their faces to deter the courage and bravery they demonstrated. Other bystanders, including two other 17-year-olds, Alyssa Funari and Karlynn Gilbert, testified in court and bore their truth of what they saw that day. Yes, there were adults who also testified for the Prosecution, articulating the helplessness they felt as they pleaded for the rogue cop to take his knee off of George Floyd's neck.
Charles McMillian, age 61, was most compassionate, encouraging George Floyd to corporate with the police; yet he also witnessed a hateful and racist cop killing a Black man over a $20 bill. When I watched McMillian break down and cry during his court testimony, tears flowed down my face as I struggled to ask the question, "Why?"
The conviction of Officer Derek Chauvin represented a well-orchestrated trial where the testimonies and video footage of children were principal components of the Prosecution's evidence. The Defense's arguments were pathetically weak, heavily relying on the hypothesis that the preexisting medical-drug history of George Floyd was the cause of death.
And in less than 12 hours, the diverse jury of nine set the record straight.
They believed the CHILDREN.
Yes, the sentencing will take place in the next eight weeks, and Derek Chauvin's legal team will undoubtedly press for an appeal. It won't work. Chauvin will serve some time in jail for his arrogance, hatred, and racism. His police goon squad of three will probably get jail time after their trial is held in August.
The Police Killings Continue
In the midst of nationwide celebrations of the Chauvin's conviction, there is still so much work to do. The US Justice Department is now investigating the operational practices of the Minneapolis Police Department. And as I write this commentary, three more police "shoot to kill" cases have sprung up in Columbus, Ohio, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
This is out of control and MUST be stopped. Our nation MUST recalibrate our police departments so that punishment meets the crime regardless of race or ethnicity.
George Floyd would have been proud of the young and old bystanders who defended his dignity. They could not save his life, but they saved his legacy. I pay tribute to Darnella and Judeah in particular because they did not RUN in the face of danger. One took out her cell phone as a proud citizen journalist. And the other backed up her older cousin and cried out as any good 9-year-old advocate would do.
They would make ANY mother proud. I celebrate their wisdom and their action.
Saving George Floyd
Yes, young people SAVED George Floyd. They couldn't save his life, but they saved his humanity and made it impossible for us to look away or turn back to the old way of thinking. For our young people armed with cell phone cameras, hopes, and dreams, we have to recalibrate our police departments across the country and examine the countless other ways to affirm the Black Lives Matter signs with policies and practices that give Black and Brown people the decency they deserve.
Black History has always been American History, and now more than ever, its value and critical importance are on full display throughout the nation. The genius of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who founded Black History month nearly 100 years ago, has caused generations of advocates to pay homage throughout the month of February to historical and current black men and women for their trailblazing sacrifices throughout the ages.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH AROUND THE WORLD
Each year Black History Month is also celebrated in England during the month of October, a tradition that started in 1987. Canada started celebrating Black History Month each February in 1995. Historical abolitionist activities in the Republic of Ireland contributed to Black History Month becoming official in October 2014. And the Netherlands acknowledged Black Achievement Month starting in October 2016.
All thanks to ONE man's dream of giving dignity and honor to a race of people whose bloodlines spanned two continents.
BRAVERY THROUGH THE AGES: REV WILLIAM GAINES
I draw strength when I reflect on the stories and countless acts of bravery and courage from African Americans of the past. Some of them are my ancestors, like Rev. William Gaines, who in Savannah, Georgia in January 1865 sat with other black leaders in conversation with General William Tecumseh Sherman to figure out what to do with so many newly freed slaves. My relative is listed as the SIXTH member of this meeting. Here is the link to read more: http://www.freedmen.umd.edu/savmtg.htm.
ELLEN AND WILLIAM CRAFT
Speaking of courageous black people from Georgia, I can never get enough of Ellen and William Craft. Their daring escape from slavery in 1848 took them from their Macon, Georgia plantation through Philadelphia and Boston up into Canada and ultimately England, where the bounty hunters were guaranteed not to track them down. Ellen was a fair-skinned biracial woman dressed up as an injured man, with William acting as her servant. They pulled off one of the greatest escapes in American history and lived to tell the story.
Georgia giants continued making history when black women, including Stacey Abrams, decided to use their community and church-organizing skills to get people out to the polls, not once but twice. First to flip Georgia from red to blue by choosing Joe Biden/Kamala Harris for President/Vice President in November 2020. Then, flipping Georgia blue again with the historic election of a Black Baptist minister and a Jewish journalist for the two US Senate seats on January 6, 2021: Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
That's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the countless contributions of black people throughout the ages. Nearly all aspects of American governance, policy, economics, education, commerce, art, culture, and religion intersect with the black community.
So don't even think about pivoting to "All History Matters," especially during February in America. You will be drowned out by the drum beats, gospel chorus chants, and poetic prowess of millions of black voices demanding a unique identity in the fabric of American society.
Black History IS American History!!!
The Association For The Study Of African American Life and History
Black History Month and Dr. Carter G. Woodson
During the dawning decades of the twentieth century, it was commonly presumed that black people had little history besides the subjugation of slavery. Today, it is clear that blacks have significantly impacted the development of the social, political, and economic structures of the United States and the world. Credit for the evolving awareness of the true place of blacks in history can, in large part, be bestowed on one man, Carter G. Woodson. And, his brainchild, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc., is continuing Woodson's tradition of disseminating information about black life, history, and culture to the global community.
Known as the "Father of Black History," Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves and understood how important gaining a proper education is when striving to secure and make the most out of one's divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, his dedication to study enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago in just a few years.
In 1912, Woodson became the second African American to earn a PhD at Harvard University. (W.E.B. DuBois was the first.)
Recognizing the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks in 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
Under Woodson's pioneering leadership, the Association created research and publication outlets for black scholars with the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937), which garners a popular public appeal.
In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, and today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience. ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson's legacy.
In honor of all the work that Dr. Carter G. Woodson has done to promote the study of African American History, an ornament of Woodson hangs on the White House's Christmas tree each year.
Source: Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
By Korey Bowers Brown
By Carole Copeland Thomas
Here we are in these early days of the Biden Harris Presidency, and the battle cry for reconciliation is on full display. My response: Not yet. Nearly three weeks ago, the very foundation of American democracy was rattled and almost overtaken by an angry mob of largely white anarchists who felt that 80 million voters had stolen their rightful President's victory. They were wrong. They believed the Trump lie and acted on it. As a result, federal property was damaged, six people were killed (including the officer hit over the head with a fire extinguisher and the other who committed suicide), and many federal workers were scared out of their wits. The Vice President was threatened with hanging and was rescued in large part by a quick-thinking black US Capitol police officer. Other anarchists sent death threats to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others in Congress.
All based on lies.
All fueled in part by military veterans, law enforcement officers, Ohio bar owners, and Pennsylvania zealots trying to sell Speaker Pelosi's laptop to the Russians. All fueled by lies.
Lies that quickly gathered followers on Twitter, Facebook Parler, and the dark web. Lies that were nurtured by President Trump because of his desperate need to steal the November 2020 general election, he simply didn't win. And to further add injury to insult, lies that the former President held onto that prevented him from formally conceding the election, right down to stepping into the helicopter that flew him to his farewell speech on January 20th. Lies. More than 30,000 lies in four years—disgusting lies.
Lies that cost me business because of a September 2020 Executive Ban that blocked diversity training programs for federal agencies and federal contractors. Lies that generated a 1776 report just days before President Trump left office. In that report, more lies were reshaped into unrecognizable historic patriotism.
Here's what Former Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo said on Twitter the day after the 1776 Report was released:
"Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the "isms- they're not what America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker."
So, according to Pompeo, my work over three decades as a diversity thought leader, speaker, and trainer is worthless, seditious, and divisive. If that were the case, President Biden would not have so swiftly signed one of 30 Executive Orders that reversed the September 22nd diversity ban signed by Trump.
Pompeo, like boss Trump, was a major peddler of lies.
My response to Pompeo, who called me the enemy, is: "Good riddance to both of them for generating the lies that continue to wreak havoc in our nation."
So, I cannot in good faith champion a reconciliation process before holding political leaders, business executives, and civic advocates accountable for the extensive and generational damage they have done to our society. There has to be an acknowledgment of truth in order to root out the lies. Clearly, the second impeachment we're now witnessing is a step toward accountability. We don't know what the Senate will do or if the Senate will convict President Trump. At least the House of Representatives had the guts to denounce an outgoing President whose selfish lies led to violence and death.
And when it comes to business and commerce, my annoyance is on full display. I am watching and monitoring those companies who wrote compassionate letters of support for Black Lives Matter after George Floyd was killed. Through their political PAC organizations, some of those same companies gave gobs of money to Republican legislators who fully embraced the Trump election laws. Some have recently cut ties with these legislators.
I cut ties with My Pillow propped up on my bed. I took this pillow and threw it in the trash when I learned that Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO, was one of the main proponents of the election lies. He was seen visiting the White House after the January 6th insurrection. He and Rudy Giuliani continue to fan the fires of hate, election lies, and unwavering loyalty to Former President Trump. Several companies have dropped his products from their inventory, including Wayfair, Bed Bath And Beyond, and Kohl's.
The same can be said for the complicit behavior of Social Media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They must be held accountable and not allowed to serve as the distribution channel for Trump lies and conspiracy theories. Yes, Twitter has banned Trump, and Facebook, too. Let's keep it permanent. Parler, the widely uncheck fringe group platform, has also been removed from Amazon, Apple, and Google. Let's keep it that way.
And here's what Mary Trump, the former President's outspoken niece, said today on Twitter:
"To anybody interviewing congressional Republicans: first ask them if, in one word, they accept the results of the 2020 election. If they say anything other than yes, cut their mics and end the interview. Better yet, find out ahead of time and don't have them on at all."
I do believe in reconciliation. It's a necessary ending platform that will restore the country and help heal our deep-seated wounds. With truth, accuracy, and transparency, the road to reconciliation will lead to the right path for our sustainable future.
However, the most effective path to reconciliation is through the gateway of accountability.
Conservative leaders MUST accept that Donald Trump LOST the 2020 presidential election. They must also denounce those who became anarchists the minute they stormed into the US Capitol and breached security measures to do so.
Americans MUST work with the Biden Harris Administration to fight COVID by wearing masks and practicing safe social distancing measures.
Americans MUST also work with the Biden Harris Administration to help tackle the economy, bring jobs back into the marketplace and find new solutions for communities of color far too often left out of the economic gameplan.
And Americans MUST admit that our racial issues are deeply dividing our country, are institutionally embedded in our nation's fabric, and must be acknowledged if they are going to be resolved.
Reconciliation? Yes. But Accountability must be fully applied, administered, and rectified if reconciliation has any chance to make it in our great country.
Most of us launched our New Year with high hopes, plenty of expectations, and a reassuring notion that the worst of 2020 was behind us. You know that feeling, the COVID vaccine was on its way, and health care professionals were at the front of that line. The political and economic uncertainties were turning a corner, with a new presidential administration ready to take over. We were promising to move in a new direction after the pomp and circumstances of a January 20th Inauguration.
All of that was awaiting us, in addition to our New Year's resolutions and weight-loss commitments.
And then it happened right in front of our eyes on live television. The January 6th Insurrection on the US Capitol changed everything. It shocked us, frightened our spirits, and ripped off America's band-aid, exposing an avalanche of old and new national problems.
Ripping Off America's Band-Aid
There are five layers of old skin that were ripped off when QAnon, The Proud Boys, and other anarchists/white supremacist groups stormed into the US Capitol, demanding that their grievances be heard. On full display were:
These five tenants are embedded into America's fabric and provide the building blocks for fringe groups like the Proud Boys. And the stakeholders of these far-right groups represent the largest danger to our country: domestic terrorism.
As articulated by Congressman James Clyburn, the Democratic House leader whose single endorsement relaunched Joe Biden's presidential candidacy,
"It is time in our country to admit that we have a domestic terrorism problem."
The problem is an old one. It kept festering and exploded in mid-air on January 6th when an angry mob of white anarchists burst into the Capitol to save their president, whose lies they believed!!!!
They beat white police with no regard for "Blue Lives Matter." In one instance, DC Officer Mike Fanone probably saved himself from being beaten to death by yelling, "I have kids." No such luck for Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher and died. And let's not forget Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who couldn't take it after guarding the Capitol on that Wednesday and committed suicide days afterward.
They were all white.
Heroes like black Capitol Officer Eugene Goodman probably saved Vice President Mike Pence and others in the Senate Chamber with quick thinking. Seeing the Senate Chamber unguarded, Goodman picked up his baton and led the crowd in the opposite direction, allowing Pence to be whisked away with seconds to spare.
Yes, the bravery of many whose quick thinking and service to the country probably thwarted a catastrophe that could have killed lawmakers, staff, and building maintenance members by a mob fueled by a lie.
On the anniversary weekend of his 92nd birthday,
What Would Dr. King Think About America in The Year 2021???
Dr. Martin Luther King's message to us some 57 years ago is as applicable now as it was when he uttered those words during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment."
Yes, my friends, the January 6th Insurrection reminded us of the unfinished business we still have in America. And it showed that a lie told enough times can turn into another person's truth. Until we tackle the impact of Violence, Racism, Anti-Semitism, White Privilege, and Anti-Democracy, we will never be the superpower country we claim to be to other nations around the world.
It will take accountability BEFORE healing. Rushing into healing, unity, propagandized corporate letters, and singing Kum Ba Yah, aren't good enough. We have a sizable portion of our country that believed the lies, galvanized their own racial bigotry, and tried like heck to end our democracy. They failed. And they must continue to fail as we stand up, speak out and say NO to their path of destruction. The accountability MUST be our focus BEFORE we can even seriously address a unified front toward reconciliation.
It will take an uncomfortable examination of our personal fault lines that contributed to the degradation of January 6th. Discussions in large and small groups will provide the path forward. Having new leadership team in the White House will certainly help the cause.
We are in a clear and present danger that will marginalize us all in America if we don't seriously address the angry white mob carrying Trump and Confederate flags. They have every intention of pushing our democracy off the cliff of our future.
Wake up, stop denying it, and help lead our nation through the painful but necessary path of accountability BEFORE healing.
-Carole Copeland Thomas
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.