I stand with you

Fifty-six years ago, a young black girl began her first day at an all-white school. Angry protesters screamed at her as she walked by because they didn’t believe she belonged there. Parents pulled their kids from class. But on that day — November 14, 1960 — Ruby Bridges had the law by her side. She was escorted into William Frantz Elementary School by U.S. Marshals, desegregating schools in accordance with the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. And while it took decades to make progress on desegregation and other important civil rights fronts, it was important that Ruby did not walk into school alone that day.

The question is who stands with those who feel threatened today? With immigrant children who, like Ruby, are being told that they don’t belong. With young girls who may feel less certain that they can lead this country as its president. With Muslim families who feel shunned by communities to which they have contributed in so many ways.

We do. We must have the backs of everyone in our communities during this concerning time for our country. We must take action now to combat acts of hatred. We must defend our hard-fought civil rights. We must stand with those who have been sent the message that they don’t belong.

Across the country, we are seeing heartening evidence that others feel the same. A wall of empathy has appeared on a block of my neighborhood. It hosts hundreds of messages to fellow community members. “I stand with you,” is a powerful one.

Thousands of people have approached Equal Rights Advocates in the past week asking what actions they can take to defend the values and people they care about. In response, today we launch the Equal Rights Action Team and invite you to join. In the months ahead, we will coordinate closely with other inspiring action groups and roll out ways you can stand with kids and neighbors who may feel much like Ruby did 56 years ago. Thank you for joining us, and thank you for the inspiration Ruby! Today I am especially proud my own daughter bears your name.

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