With the recent tragedies in Orlando, Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, this is a sad time for our nation and each and every one of its residents. It highlights in so many ways the worst of our instincts and policy failures –- lack of understanding, tolerance and acceptance as equals of the many groups that comprise this great nation; the ease with which weapons of war are obtained and used against both ordinary people and law enforcement officers; racial divisiveness, fear and fear-mongering promulgated by individuals, groups and mass media yearning for provocative messaging.
Yet, it is also times like this that we see the best of us -– law enforcement officers placing their lives in jeopardy to protect others -– including those peacefully protesting the actions of some of their fellow officers; municipal and state leaders who publicly support independent investigations and promise justice when their own law enforcement officers are accused of wrongdoing; the many diverse individuals -– by race, age and gender — who show empathy for those among us for whom the American Dream seems elusive.
Today and every day, we should all take a moment of reflection for our role in sustaining the greatness of this country, to recognize and respect the diversity of our fellow residents and for our responsibility to remain ever vigilant in acknowledging and protecting the civil liberties that make America unique.
These issues, whose impact extends to our own local communities, were not created overnight and sound answers will take time, persistence and dedicated effort.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is considering additional efforts we might undertake to support the residents in our region during these difficult and complicated times. We know answers are there – they exist in the hearts and minds of our neighbors, faith communities, institutions, businesses, nonprofits and policymakers in our community who want to be a positive force for change.
Together, we can build on a foundation of hope and the vision of a better world for us all.
Yvette Melendez is chair of the board of directors and Linda Kelly president of The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The organization is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities.