What a beautiful name for, I am sure, a beautiful young lady. I received your letter asking me why I thought there is so much hatred and violence in our country.
It was a very thoughtful letter and I will attempt to provide you with an equally thoughtful response.
In my opinion the person most responsible for the very visible and blatant instances of hatred in America is none other than former President Barack H. Obama.
It seems to me that when this nation elected its very first African-American president there was a rather large segment of our society that just could not bring itself to have an African American in the White House as our president.
This segment of society sought a leader to lead them and their hatred out of the shadows and into the mainstream. They found that leader in none other than game show host Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump, you may recall, was the leader of what is now known as the birther movement which questioned President Obama's birthplace and, in so doing, questioned his legitimacy to the presidency.
Charlottesville, Virginia is a beautiful city. I recall quite vividly taking my children there to visit Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, a true Renaissance man. It was quite an “enlightening” experience for us to say the least.
The word “enlightening” can also be used to describe the events in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12th which resulted in an innocent protester allegedly having her life snuffed out by a white supremacist.
The history of heinous acts inflicted on this country by white supremacists can be traced back decades if not centuries and includes lynchings and goes all the way through such events as the Charleston Church massacre and now Charlottesville.
The enlightenment to which I am referring is the hopeful enlightenment of the portion of the electorate that placed Trump in the presidency. It is enlightenment to his clear leanings toward white supremacy as evidenced by so many of his policy positions including Muslim bans and Mexican wall building.
Monday night the Montgomery County Sentinel sponsored a community forum on the subject of hate crime.
We invited civic leaders, county council members, our local police chief and someone from the Help Save Maryland organization.
This prompted telephone calls, some our office manager deemed “harassing” and several emails – one of which said that in tolerant Montgomery County we could not tolerate an organization like Help Save Maryland.
Daryl Davis has spent most his life trying to answer one question: “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?”
The 58-year-old African-American author, musician and actor from Silver Spring, has spent years studying, interacting and befriending white supremacists.
Since the presidential election of Donald Trump, who he said has energized white supremacists; Davis maintains the best way for people to confront racists is to talk with them face to face.
“The way I would challenge them is to invite them to the table,” he said. “Not shout at them but invite them to the table for a roundtable discussion.”