I hope that the La Verne community will join me in mourning the passing of a true American hero, Brother Fred Shuttlesworth.
Mr. Shuttlesworth was a dynamic voice of reason, dignity and hope during the civil rights movement. He was one of countless African-American people who stood up for what was right and showed incredible courage in their stand against racism and oppression. As a 46-year veteran of the civil rights movement, I stand in awe of Brother Shuttlesworth and all those wonderful Black people who fought for their dignity and equality. Rest in peace, brother – and thank you.
I hope that we all remember his legacy when we see the bigotry and hatred directed today toward Muslims and gays/lesbians in particular. We don’t want to look back 30 to 40 years from now at our present culture and feel the revulsion that most of us feel about our narrow-mindedness and sickness regarding the policies of the 1960s.
Bigotry is bigotry, whether it is hidden behind “religion” or any other doctrine. It’s time for us all to come together and create a nation which is unified, not separated; this can only be achieved if we refuse to remain silent in the face of oppression towards any member of our society.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Until we all have justice, none of us do.
Adjunct Professor of Sociology