Diversity Is Our Strength
(Full Speech Text Delivered)
We Shall Overcome: Vigil for Racial Justice & Equality
13 August 2017, 6pm
CCB Plaza — Durham, NC
By Gerald D. Givens Jr.
This evening we are gathered together to honor those who lost their lives and to the others who were injured in Charlottesville, Virginia. My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of Heather Heyer, who lost her life and the 19 others who were injured in such a hateful terrorist attack. My heart and prayers also go out to the two officers who died on duty protecting and the community they served in a helicopter crash.
I hope for a speedy recovery for all of the uncounted who were physically, mentally, and spiritually injured in Charlottesville. My prayers are with you too.
Brothers and sisters, who are with us here today in Durham, and all of those around the nation watching us Livestream, the loving citizens of Charlottesville played their parts and now we must play ours. Together, tonight we will tell America the truth.
Racists / white supremacist fear a society where being white and male no longer gives them an unfair advantage.
In 2008, history was made, Barack Obama was elected the President, becoming the first black person to do so. President Obama was re-elected in 2012. Blacks outvoted whites, for the first time in American history. And when the scholars and analysts drilled a little deeper into what they found was a multiracial, multiethnic, cross-class coalition, made up of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, women, young people, professionals, and economically populist blue-collar whites; supporting an agenda to expand economic opportunities and personal freedoms for all people.
Diversity is America’s strength. It took a diverse group of Americans to defeat the Confederates. It took a diverse group of Americans to defeat the Nazis. And It’s going to take a diverse group of Americans to defeat the racist / white supremacist who call themselves the ALT-Right.
White people have never been superior to those of all other races.
In this colorful world, God made infinite colors. There are no right or wrong colors. The land, seas, sky, plants, the animal kingdom and all of mankind consist of unlimited colors.
When I retired from the US Air force, the first thing I did was to go back to college. I attended the Art Institute. Before we could go into studying any of our selected majors, we had to master the color wheel. We had to understand the color theory.
God made complementary colors, which are colors that cancel each other’s hue to produce an achromatic (white, gray or black) light mixture.
God made warm and cool colors. Warm colors are associated with daylight or sunset. Cool colors are associated with a gray or an overcast day.
God made achromatic colors. They are unsaturated or neutral. Achromatic or neutral colors include black, white and all grays.
God made tints and shades. It’s all about a mixture of spectrum balanced red, green and blue (rgb).
God made split primary colors. It’s all about the visual arts, two-dimensional color wheels or three-dimensional color solids. The key to split primary colors is based on human color perception, it’s like the difference in looking at computer colors and paint colors for us.
And in the end God wraps it up with color harmony. Colors seen together, to produce a pleasing, affective response to us in harmony.
Painting this American picture together has been very messy and will continue to be messy. However, the common things that will keep us together are our faith and the US Constitution.
Our faith is the paint brush and our constitution is the canvas. The title of our painting is called “A More Perfect Union” because all the white men who originally founded America knew from the start that they had made a mistake. Because the truth is that all colors, men and women matter.
The governing color, quantity was wrong back then, the governing colors quality is moving in the correct direction now. As a coalition, we are all in this together.
And there is no greater tribute we can give to Heather Heyer, whose mother told the world today, that “I believe Heather, my baby, was born to be the turning point.” and to those who were injured in Charlottesville, than to form a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multi-class painting of an America in full color harmony. Marching, protesting, voting, strategizing, and investing in one another, for one another.
In their honor, let’s celebrate our diversity and not be afraid of white supremacist hatred and violence. The Confederates lost. The Nazis lost. The ALT-right know they’re already losing too. Somewhere, in a great book I read “Be not afraid!”
God bless you and God bless America!