Response to the events of January 6th:
White privilege is real. As a white male, I have seen it, felt it, and lived it. White privilege was on full display on January 6th, while the world watched the insurrection on our Nation’s Capitol.
As President-elect Joe Biden explained, “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable.”
On a day when we could have been celebrating diversity as Raphael Warnock, the FIRST Black Senator from the South, and Jon Ossoff, the FIRST Jewish Senator from the South, were elected into Congress, we watched systemic racism incarnate.
Enough about the problem; let’s create solutions. At Anytown Leadership Program, a social justice leadership organization for high school students, we train future community leaders to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Teen training is offered each summer in week-long intensive programming in Prescott where community catalysts are activated, and change occurs on their high school campuses and in their neighborhoods, and the impact carries on over each delegate’s lifetime.
Built on the conviction that honest, forthright conversation is the cornerstone of a just society, Anytown views open dialogue as a crucial step toward breaking down the barriers that separate individuals. We build stronger communities by facilitating camp residential programs, school programs, and workplace diversity programs that educate individuals on inclusion, bias, and discrimination.
“Anytown’s belief, since our inception in the 1950’s, is that no one is born a bigot or racist. As the state’s leading facilitator of those fundamental beliefs, every one of us are challenged to inform young people that what happened during the first week of the new year is the exception, and not the rule,” said Anytown Leadership Program Board Chair Jeff Golner.
Will the incident on January 6th be a catalyst for a more cohesive Congress? Let’s hope so. In addition to hope, let’s continue to train our future leaders to respect, embrace, and discuss differences in ideology, religion, race, and gender, and understand that civil discourse is our true north.
Anytown Leadership Program – www.AnytownLeadershipCamp.org
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