Statement by Fred Faust, President, The Edge Group, Inc.
Racial discrimination is an unfortunate fact of life in our country. For anyone that discounts this fact, history is informative – and blunt. The photo here is in the aftermath of the 1963 Birmingham 16th Street Church bombing that took the life of four African-American children. Some 40 years later, two Ku Klux Klan members were convicted of the crime. According to the Tuskegee Institute, nearly 5,000 lynching’s occurred in the US between 1882 and 1960, about two-thirds of these involved the murder of African Americans. Surely, progress has been made. Recent killings, however, and multiple incidents of discrimination, clearly indicate that racial equity remains a challenge. Health statistics and current Covid-19 mortality rates bear this out as well. All of us have an obligation to work towards what the Constitution called “a more perfect union.”
Second rate justice, schools, jobs and living conditions are not acceptable for any Americans. From time to time, we hear so-called “locker room talk” that speaks to endemic racism and prejudice. We all must do more to speak out to say that this behavior is not acceptable. Our country also needs a more robust discussion as to the true history of race and the long term damage done from slavery to the most recent unwarranted killings of African Americans. Jim Crow, lynching, red lining by banks and the government, and callous mistreatment as the hands of certain law enforcement agencies; these actions were not and are not acceptable.
A wonder of the Lowell community is the diversity that we see every day. This diversity should truly be celebrated. Our own household included foster children, two of whom our family adopted. Their birth families came from Southeast Asia. Our lives were enriched by these children and their cultures. We were also gratified by the amazing support and acceptance of our neighbors. But Lowell is not an exception to the fact that discrimination and prejudice due to skin color do exist in our city, state and nation.
The goal of dividing communities and justification of the unjustifiable may be a platform of our current President. Sadly, President Trump and certain of his supporters misunderstand the Constitution and our country’s ideals. We condemn these types of behaviors and pledge to support efforts to recognize and eliminate racial inequities through advocacy, public engagement and hiring. Black lives do matter. Steps need to be taken to value, protect and stand up for our neighbors and fellow Americans. We hope that you will join us in these efforts.