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Commentary: We the people must be ambassadors for hope and stamp out hate

Commentary: We the people must be ambassadors for hope and stamp out hate
November 08
02:00 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

America is the melting pot of the world. It has diversity at its core and all people are welcomed here. Years ago, my hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. was a welcoming place for my father, who was Jamaican. In fact, for a long time my dad was the only Jamaican in the city.

He decided upon this city because one of his fellow dental friends, Dr. J.C. Morgan, had settled in High Point, a city only minutes from Winston-Salem. The rest is history, as he began his practice and gained the respect of people in the city.

There are many people in my hometown and other cities across America that have similar stories. Their migration started with a friend or relative and it grew from there. I have always spoken fondly about Winston-Salem and growing up there. While it wasn’t a perfect place, its citizens had respect for one another. Yes, we had major differences, but those differences didn’t turn into major violence. Thankfully, our communities in East Winston didn’t experience shootings and killings.

We lived in times when guns weren’t your calling cards. We did a lot of talking and little fighting. Back in the day, we sold a lot of “wolf tickets.” You must be in a certain age category to know what a wolf ticket is. Plainly stated, a wolf ticket is an exaggeration of a half-truth. It could also be a total fabrication being told in a convincing manner. Still, with these tickets flying around, we didn’t use hateful speech toward each other. We cared about each other and were respectful.

What has happened to us? Where has the civility gone? Has it taken a nap or is it in a permanent slumber? We have lowered the bar on humanity as feelings are hurt and attitudes are negative. America stands at the corner of disrespect and disillusionment. Caring is not trending much these days and we are on a roller coaster of despair.

Are there some responsible parties for this vile behavior? Yes. We are. There are people that spew out venom and un-truths every day. We have gotten accustomed to it and that is the sad part. We have made hate and violence a part of today’s landscape. We can blame our leaders, but we have allowed this to happen. We don’t say enough and do enough to confront this evil.

Just last week, our nation hit rock bottom again as 11 people were killed at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It has become painfully clear that places of worship have become battlefields. They are no longer the sacred institutions they once were, at least not in the eyes of the people who commit these heinous acts.

Robert Bowers, the shooter, has been indicted on 44 counts, including federal hate crimes. Bowers, from Baldwin, Pa., was armed with handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle. This investigation will continue as the FBI is searching for a motive.

The motive is he hated a segment of our community. Bowers will pay for this crime, yet America is in turmoil. Teaching kindness and civility must continue to be our guiding principles. We can never let a few unbalanced people create a culture of hate.

This is our America, not their America. Pray America. Pray.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at ewers.jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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