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President Donald Trump has issued a call to condemn racism and all other forms of hatred. It is the echo of a cry that has been heard for years. Many individuals and groups have dedicated themselves to defending and protecting all people against racism and hatred.

How will we as a nation go forth?

Each citizen has the responsibility to speak and act against racism and hatred with persistence, diplomacy, conversation not violence, commitment, honesty, respect, and hope.

We are all neighbors. We should embrace and celebrate the things we share and also our differences and varying opinions but should never accept the viewpoints that are destructive and demeaning.

We must call upon those we have elected to be leaders and examples with their voices and with their actions. We require their leadership in discussion, debate, and legislation.

Leadership means not giving tacit encouragement when a crowd chants "Send them back" and other provocative statements. It means not creating and encouraging stereotypes of any citizens, immigrants, neighborhoods.

It means stating emphatically that there are not two sides to hatred and racism, to violent demonstrations. It means speaking factually. It means recognizing that public figures in our country have a responsibility to the nation and to the world. We are all intertwined on our abundant yet fragile earth. We should not accept anything less from our leadership.

How will we as a nation go forth?

Sonja Knudsen,

Rock Island

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