This time, it really is different. Since the founding of Common Ground Committee in 2009, there has never been so much agreement on any issue as there is on the recent death of African-American George Floyd. Not just the country, overwhelmingly, but the world has come together to stand against the unjust murder of Mr. Floyd at the hands of four white Minneapolis police officers. This has included strong voices in the law enforcement community. We stand with them, without hesitation. And we join in the effort to wrap the Floyd family in a virtual embrace of love and support.
Common Ground Committee’s purpose is to bring healing to the incivility and polarization that increasingly prevents the progress our nation can and should be making. We are resolute in our view that finding common ground is the most effective path to progress and solutions for the vast majority of issues.
We also believe there are times when one must stand firmly on principle, and refuse to accept as valid any argument that would deeply violate one’s fundamental values. This is one of those times. For us, it is heartbreaking that an incident like this was the catalyst to bring so many people together. But here we are. Now we need to do the work to change not just behavior but thinking, to ensure that these incidents will stop. We believe each of us – not just elected officials and those in authority – can do our part.
The wide-spread uprising is focused on police interaction with African-Americans, but the elephant in the room is racism. Many voices on race, long ignored, or lost in the constant yelling from all quarters of public discourse, are now being heard and acknowledged. This listening must continue, and we firmly stand with those voices whose purpose is to peacefully bring healing to the disease of racism.
In our efforts of “bringing light, not heat to public discourse,” we will provide a platform for those voices that uplift rather than deflate, that foster understanding rather than incite demonization. We will demonstrate what good engagement looks like when conflicting views are brought together, inspiring people to think and act differently so that they can play their role in this healing work.
This is a rare moment in history where Americans individually and collectively have the opportunity to make enormous progress on one of the country’s most pressing issues. All of us at Common Ground Committee are dedicated to seizing that opportunity. We invite you to join us in that effort.