America in turmoil. Police shooting blacks. Police being shot. Protesters burning businesses — both black and white — in senseless destruction. Ferguson again. White separatists warning of the impending subjugation of the white race to the increasing numbers of minorities and calling for action against them. Castigating Boise Mayor Dave Bieter for his pro-diversity stance (the Idaho Statesman, Aug. 4, 2015, A4). A replay of times past? Does this have to be the future of America?
An emphatic “no!” is the response of the Treasure Valley NAACP. To stem the tide of negative race-ethnic relations, a forum committed to the “Dream” message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been inaugurated.
Under the leadership and direction of Charles C. Taylor, president of the Treasure Valley Branch of the NAACP, the theme is, “Unity in Diversity — A Forum Celebrating Enlightened Understanding.”
The forum recognizes that the United States is a nation of diverse races, ethnic groups, religions and political thoughts. In this diversity, the forum is committed to the values of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution — of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” of equal opportunity, of equal justice, of establishing and maintaining communication with all. And of freedom for all!
This is the “enlightened understanding” of the forum. This, too, is the message that King expressed so well in those likewise turmoil days of the 1960s: unity in diversity; the need for enlightened understanding; and freedom for all.
In this, the Treasure Valley Branch of the NAACP and Charles Taylor would like to thank Mayor Bieter for his praise and support of diversity in the valley. This is the kind of attitude public and private entities should entail.
The first of the forums, held this summer at the Red Lion in Boise, included such diverse attendees as Idaho state Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise; Boise Police Chief William Bones; attorney Natalie Camacho Mendoza (the new Boise Police Department ombudsman); Humberto Fuentes; representatives from Concordia University; Native American Liz Mummy; U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson; Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Jan M. Bennetts; African immigrants; and various Treasure Valley NAACP members.
Future plans for the forum include expanded participation along with a range of special speakers, programs and seminars. First and foremost is communication with those of varied interests.
Let us not forget. Let us recommit to King’s memorable speech: “I Have a Dream” — August 28, 1963, speaking before more than 250,000 civil rights supporters at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. ... I have a dream that my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ... And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”
This is the message and commitment of the Treasure Valley NAACP forum.
Mario P. Delisio is the communications director for the Treasure Valley NAACP.