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Crain's Cleveland Business: Working together to effect change

Crain's Cleveland Business: Working together to effect change

Reps. Marcia L. Fudge and Anthony Gonzalez | Crain's Cleveland Business

In the current political environment, it would be easy to forget America was built on the collaborative spirit of her founders and leaders. From the development and signing of the Constitution to enacting laws protecting equal, civil, voting and human rights, bipartisanship has been a lever that brought about profound change at many critical points in our nation's history. This is just such a time for us to do what we were elected to do — lead in a spirit of unity, and put the future of America and its people first and foremost, despite many areas of frustration.
 
When we see our African American brothers and sisters and allies demanding justice and change in the face of pain, we hear those voices, and refuse to ignore them and their collective strength. We must answer them. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and hundreds of unarmed African American men and women over the years have ripped open our oldest wound — injustices disproportionately experienced by people of color — exposing it for all to see. Though we have made progress, the cycle and pervasive impact of racism continues.
 
For the first time in a long time we feel united in a desire to make America live up to her promise. Despite this alignment, we often fight competing truths and nuances are lost. Conversations about policing, race, and the rights of protesters often devolve into a frustrated set of positions in want of validation. But a silver lining is emerging. We all know we want change. We just have to come together to figure out how we get there. As elected leaders, we can begin to end the injustices and help set our communities and the nation on the path to healing.
 
We are tired of seeing young Black men and women killed in our country, and feeling the fabric that should be America coming apart at the seams. The change we all desire will take a lot of work, and listening to each other in meaningful conversation. Racism has impacted American culture for over 400 years. Change will not happen overnight, but we cannot delay or deny providing the tools of change.
 
Too many lives are at stake for us to be distracted by constant chamber infighting. We can never forget we serve the people, not our political party's best interest. We must never be afraid to stand for what is right no matter which side of the aisle we find ourselves. When we live this truth through our work, then, and only then, will we live up to the spirit of our oaths of office.
 
Your Northeast Ohio members of Congress commit to working together in a greater spirit of unity to address police brutality and racism wherever they exist in our society. Not only will we work together, we will also lead together. We may not always agree about how to accomplish the goal, but we promise to hear your voices, discuss the possibilities, and compromise where we can in the best interests of our constituents and the American people.
 
You, too, can help, not just by marching and demanding justice and the eradication of all acts of racism, but also by having tough conversations around your dinner table and in your houses of worship. We all must do this work each day as we raise our children to understand and achieve a truer version of the American promise. As individuals, our most subtle gestures and passing glances can also ensure this moment in time will spark a cultural shift. Let's not lose another opportunity.
 
This moment, this movement, is a catalyst for change. Join us, and let's all commit to working together for a better Ohio and a better America.