An Open Letter to our Community and Civic Leadership in The Villages, Florida

We join our fellow citizens of The Villages and America in profound grief and heartache at the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and numerous others whose lives were taken by senseless acts of violence directed at people of color.  In recognition of the longstanding racial injustice perpetrated on people of color in our country, a country from its founding espoused and celebrated E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), we stand together in rejecting, loudly and without equivocation, race prejudice in all of its vile forms.  Racism remains the most vital and challenging issue confronting America. 

We are painfully reminded of how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked tirelessly to bring about racial justice over fifty years ago.  His dream, regrettably and with great sadness, has yet to be realized.  It remains for us to move forward decisively, with boldness and audacity, to advance work that all people, irrespective of color, creed, culture, or gender, enjoy equal justice under the law and the pursuit of happiness.  Fundamental to Dr. King’s vision and those of us of Faith is the need to embrace a fundamental truth that we are all of one race – the human race.  

There are many obstacles before us to bring about change, but change is needed to overcome an ingrained prejudice and systemic injustice.   There are no simple solutions, but only hard work that begins with both individual and collective action to be vigilant and, without hesitation, confront prejudice and discrimination whenever and wherever it should arise. 

We call on our civic leaders and everyone in our community to arise and join us in the work of building a more perfect union where all are afforded justice under the law.  In so doing, we stand ready to join you, our government officials, as a resource to promote race unity and address conditions that fuel race prejudice, discrimination and injustice.   Please know that this invitation to call on us is a genuine and without reservation to arise and serve.   We are committed to engage and consult with you and others who are dedicated to the cause addressing the many areas in our community in need of change and establishing new models of understanding and constructive action.   We remain hopeful and confident that by our individual and collective acts to eradicate racism and promote justice and unity that we shall achieve a better tomorrow that is faithfully dedicated to E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one).

We are reminded of Dr. King’s memorable words that echo loudly today:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. 

We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. “

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee