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FOR RELEASE CONTACT: Tonya HarrisAugust 17, 2017 (202) 393-2427 or email@example.com
Statement on Charlottesville and its Aftermath
by Michael Casserly, Executive Director
WASHINGTON -- As the most diverse group of children in American history returns to their classrooms over the next several days, they are getting a hard lesson on intolerance, hatred, and political cowardice. In the face of a national tragedy, our president—and others—have attempted to stoke the fires of division and equate the moral standing of various white supremacy organizations with the justifiable outrage of counter-protesters in Charlottesville. At a time when we need strong, unifying leadership the president has chosen to equivocate, sending the signal that displays of racial hatred have the same valence as the voices of indignation and hope. This kind of thinking warps our common understanding of what freedom and opportunity mean, and it loosens our grip as a nation on our founding principles. These are vile and dangerous sentiments that should be roundly rejected by the citizenry.
Our schools, particularly our diverse urban public schools, will once again need to serve as a source of inspiration and courage during these rough political times. As educators, we have the power to build a future that is more thoughtful, charitable, respectful, and broad-minded—a future that counters the forces of intolerance to which our leadership has turned a blind eye. In fact, it is our patriotic responsibility to ensure that our students learn to think critically, differentiate fact from fiction, understand the key principles of our founding ideals, and live their lives with forbearance and respect for each other. It is a challenge that the nation cannot afford for us to neglect, for these are the assets that will keep us glued together as one people and will ensure that the moral arc of history bends ever faster towards justice.