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A Statement in the Aftermath of Charlottesville


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August 18, 2017

The following statement was released jointly today by board chair Meghan Binger Brown and president Kate Wolford of The McKnight Foundation.

White supremacy and neo-Nazism, and the violence and terror they sow, have no place in this country. It is disquieting that these words need to be uttered given how many veterans, abolitionists, civil rights activists, and ordinary citizens have sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom and equality. And yet, it turns out these words do need to be said — clearly, emphatically, and repeatedly. 

We have seen acts of organized hate in our own state. Sacred spaces were defiled with the bombing of a mosque just before morning prayers and with threats to Jewish community centers where children receive care.

In condemning these events, let us not forget the many routine, nearly invisible forms of prejudice our nation must overcome. Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility. 

We are heartened to see the multitudes of people of good will in our state and elsewhere who are standing up for the human rights of all. We are also inspired by the many community leaders, public officials, and business leaders we have the great privilege to work with who are working toward a vision of shared well-being and prosperity.

Equity work is personal, institutional, and societal. At McKnight, our entire staff has been examining how we can deepen our understanding of cultural differences and the role of implicit bias. This process has led to penetrating and sometimes uncomfortable conversations. And yet, we know it is necessary to look at ourselves in the mirror and, with great humility, ask how we can more fully embody the values and vision we seek for our community and nation.

The McKnight Foundation will continue to support efforts to advance equity, stand in solidarity with communities that have been particularly targeted, and support meaningful systems change that allow all to thrive. Our country is stronger when we stand together, united in upholding the dignity and value of every life equally.  

Photo credit - Karin Dalziel