“I believe that any American who holds to the theory of white supremacy and actively promotes the political, economic, and social restrictions and segregation necessary to make the theory of white supremacy effective, must be classed with those who are willing to undermine their country’s strength”
In the late 1950s, Sargent Shriver was the head of the Chicago Board of Education as well as the Catholic Interracial Council, an organization that focused on desegregation in schools. It was while serving these two organizations that Sarge spoke these words.
Events such as this weekend’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia remind us of the importance and continued relevance of his message. The hatred and violence displayed in Virginia this weekend are all too common, and they have a corrosive, destructive effect. It is up to each of us, every citizen and every political leader, to condemn this destructiveness and to counter it with open-mindedness, strength, and a resolution to create a more just society.
The population of the United States is rich and diverse. We are descendants of migrants, slaves, and aboriginal peoples. Some of us are immigrants ourselves. We practice many different religions; some of us do not practice at all. Our lifestyles vary greatly, but we all have a right to self-determination. Violent denials of our collective identity cannot be tolerated, for they destabilize us and result in injustice and violence.