“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Many of us recognize these words, written by Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner. Yet, our nation’s history has not put these ideals into action. It took over a hundred years for women to get the right to vote, and many decades after that for Black people to get the legal right to vote, and not until 1968 was housing segregation made illegal, at least in law if not in practice.
The differences that divide white people and people of color in our country’s history and present day experience are important to understand and appreciate if we are going to build a world of justice and equal opportunity.
So what is our responsibility now to deal with that history? That is some of what we will be discussing tonight.
We will hold a conversation across race and across generations.