Last weekend in Charlottesville, the world watched as organizations marched under the “banners” of freedom of speech and expression. What we witnessed was not about freedom of expression as freedoms are never absolute; they always come with constraints. What we witnessed was nothing short of a senseless loss of life and unspeakable harm to others.
We watched the news again just yesterday to see the coverage of, without fanfare or marching, innocent people in Spain killed and maimed by extremists in vans.
As The Junior League, we stand united in our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We will continue to speak out against organizations seeking to perpetuate ideologies that create an illusion of superiority rather than equity, that promote bigotry rather than inclusion, that foster hate rather than understanding and love. And we always will work to help lead our communities around the world forward through constructive engagement, open dialogue and finding common ground.
What happened in Charlottesville has sparked continued conversation and commentary—some divisive but, above all, uniting people in seeking common respect and understanding. All across our Leagues, we see people coming together every day through small and large acts to make a difference in the lives of their communities. It is this work—the enhancing of the social, cultural, and political fabric of civil society—that we believe presents a way forward. This is our strongest antidote to the fragmentation and hatred we see unfolding.
Let the legacy of Charlottesville, and the aftermath of the events that claimed so many innocent lives in Spain, be moments that further deepen our commitment to the promise of “one nation” here in the United States, and to the pursuit of the public good throughout the world.