Charlottesville, once affectionately called America’s happiest city, became the site of racially charged protests by white supremacists on August 11 of this year.
Especially with the aftermath of last year’s election, the United States has returned to its origins of furious protesting, and Americans have become increasingly vocal about their views – no matter how polarizing they may be.
After 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a car plowed over demonstrators protesting the riots, her mother, Susan Bro, later said in a public statement, “Conversations have to happen… Find what’s wrong, don’t ignore it, don’t look the other way. Say to yourself, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ And that’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile.”
In my opinion, Bro is right in this regard. If Americans want to heal deeply rooted divisions in the United States, they need to heed Bro’s advice and begin to listen to one another and put an emphasis on acknowledging facts that support political opinions. There is a natural tendency for humans to turn to comfort in times of trouble, but stepping out of comfort zones is exactly what communities need to do in this charged political climate.
The key to unity is to understand one another with an unbiased eye, lending respect to those with differing opinions but ensuring that one’s own opinions are heard as well. One sentence can change a person’s entire viewpoint, and lending everyone a voice allows them to resort to respectful, honest conversation rather than to hatred.