The following op-ed was published in Crain's Chicago Business on July 31, 2019. The Conant Family Foundation is proud to be a part of this statement.
Sometimes words are sticks and stones. Particularly when the words are used as threats against a group of people, specifically people of color. Those not targeted by the words might just shake their heads; others hear the words and feel sick, fearful, angry, and unwelcome.
Xenophobia and hatred of immigrants isn’t new. Hatred based on skin color has a long and deadly history in America. Hatred cloaked in patriotism becomes particularly poisonous when political leaders spew, condone, or simply ignore racist ideology.
We are proud of America’s racial diversity. It is what makes this country truly great. We will not silently watch prominent Americans escalate hatred and prejudice. We, as a nation, are better than that.
It might feel like your voice doesn’t matter, that speaking up won’t change anything. But remaining silent has its own power. Silence grants permission; silence implies agreement.
That’s why we are standing together to say: In America, your inclusion, safety, and belonging should not be predicated by how you look, where you were born, or where your parents — or even your great-grandparents — came from. We all belong here, all races and all religions. We are one country, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Our work as foundations is to support the people, organizations, and communities who do the hard work of moving us toward racial equity and the promise of America.
The nonprofits our family foundations support promote the common good every day in myriad ways: helping youth to succeed in school, strengthening families, reducing violence and trauma, training the unemployed and underemployed, caring for the sick and elderly, providing safety and care for children who have been abused or neglected, and advocating for policies and reforms to ensure that all families have access to opportunity, liberty, and justice.
We will continue to speak up and support nonprofits serving all people and protecting everyone’s human rights. Because we believe in an America made stronger by a more diverse leadership, an America that embraces a future for all families in an equitable, multiracial democracy.
We stand united against hate.
Comer Family Foundation Conant Family Foundation Julian Grace Foundation Lefkofsky Family Foundation Leva Family Foundation New Visions Foundation Paul M. Angell Family Foundation Pierce Family Foundation Ralph & Evelyn Davis Family Foundation Square One Foundation The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation The Osa Foundation