Justin Perry, the co-chair of Mecklenburg County school diversity organization OneMeck, writes in today’s Charlotte Observer,
Never forget! These powerful two words will be highlighted, yelled, and displayed ubiquitously throughout the country as we remember Sept. 11. Never forget the terror that was inflicted on this country. Never forget the day America was changed forever. Never forget the day that America’s innocence was lost. Never forget!
One thing you won’t hear is “Get over it!” And yet, that is what black Americans have heard repeatedly and casually over and over in regard to our home-grown terrors: slavery, Jim Crow, public lynchings with body parts sold publicly, segregation, urban renewal, church bombings/murder, the war on black and brown drug use as white heroin use is decriminalized, mass incarceration for marijuana that is now legalized in many states, the school to prison pipeline and on, and on.…Welcome to the plight of being black in America, where one can be repeatedly terrorized on his own soil by his own fellow citizens and get blamed for not turning the same cheeks again for the 1,000th time. So before we come together to “never forget” 9-11 again, can we put a moratorium on “Get over it” and replace it with “Let’s learn, truly acknowledge, and address it together for the first time?”
We live in a community that has much to celebrate. A history of bold civic leadership has sparked an economic explosion and has won us a national reputation as one of the top cities in the U.S. to live and work. But our rising tide is not lifting all boats. We cannot achieve world-class greatness while our community remains divided by income and skin color, and while our rates of social mobility are among the lowest in the country.