I truly believe we’re in the midst of racial crisis in this country.
I truly believe that what’s been bubbling beneath the surface for a long time, is now boiling over into our sentiments and sentences and streets.
I truly believe that certain voices in the public sphere are activating and aggravating this crisis.
I truly believe that we cannot discount, discredit or disregard the victims of any injustice.
I truly believe that we cannot neglect and deny the wounds that have been created and caused by years of ignorance and oppression.
I truly believe we have an epidemic of excessive police force against people of color in this country.
I truly believe that even if one person is unlawfully and unjustly killed, it’s one too many.
I truly believe that when we turn away from those who sit or stand to protest in peace, we run the risk of calmness transforming to desperation and destruction.
I truly believe that inciting ANY type of hate or violence is not only wrong, but dangerous.
I truly believe that taking the law into your own hands, burning your neighbors’ businesses, looting your neighbors’ stores, rioting within your neighborhood walls, and lashing back with angry lawlessness is never the answer. It’s bullshit.
I truly believe that when we rise up with destructive action and divisive rhetoric, we push down our communities into the most unsafest and unsanitary corners.
I truly believe that when we cast judgement upon an entire race or religion or culture based on the wrongs of a very small few, we do our collective humanity a gross disservice.
I truly believe that the “good people” of any stereotyped or discriminated group suffer the most due to the actions of that small few – whether that’s cops, Muslims, immigrants, whites, blacks, hispanics, corporations or politicians. When we allow the few bad people to get the spotlight, we push so many good ones into the darkness.
I truly believe that we should be suspicious and skeptical of ANY type of extremism – regardless of country, color or creed.
I truly believe that most police officers are honorable public servants who are doing their best in very, very unforgiving circumstances.
I truly believe that the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of black people and hispanic people and white people and Muslims and immigrants and refugees are good people. – no matter what you read online or see on TV.
I truly believe that we are ALL more similar than we are different, and that when we seek to understand each other, instead of choosing to fear each other, we quickly realize just how similar we are.
I truly believe we should make the effort to meet each other and learn each other, and not outsource that powerful, personal knowledge.
I truly believe that changing laws doesn’t cure society’s ills, it just misdirects the symptoms. Racism isn’t a political issue, its a people issue. And unless “we the people” reevaluate our own mindsets and recondition our own behaviors, any legislative or policy-based progress we’ve made over the years – from 1865 to 1965 to 2065 – will just cover up the real sickness.
I truly believe that we can’t pick and choose our American values and freedoms and liberties, we inherit them from all those who fought the good fights before us. We must continue to strive to be better. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. We must keep going.
I truly believe this is the best country on earth, and that it takes all of us – together – to ensure that it continues to be that way. No words or speeches or political posturing or 300 year old documents can do that for us. WE have to do it. We have to do it with our hearts and minds and intentions. We have to do with how we act and learn and evolve. We have to do it through our collective commitment to keep this country as a beautiful beacon of hope, diversity, opportunity and freedom to the world.
I know we are scared sometimes. I know things are unfair sometimes. I know that enough is enough sometimes. But the only way to rise up and out of the chaos around us – from San Francisco to Tulsa to Charlotte to New York – is to climb out of it together.
I truly believe that all of us can, and will, come together to make that climb.
Kash Shaikh is the Founder of the #besomebody movement, CEO of Besomebody Inc. and Chairman of the Besomebody Foundation. He’s an award-winning brand builder, writer and motivational speaker, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.