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LETTER: RISE supports equal rights for all

LETTER: RISE supports equal rights for all

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Are all people created equal? Resist Injustice Stand and Educate (RISE) Greene County and countless others here in Greene say “Yes!” Like RISE, the Greene County Republican Committee (GCRC) has emphasized its commitment “to inclusive environments in full recognition of the fact that we are all created equal.” RISE’s commitment to equality is clearly not controversial in Greene, but some of our guiding principles may not be clearly understood by all. We hope this letter clarifies those principles.

Like the GCRC, we “vehemently reject the ideologies of intolerance and bigotry” against marginalized groups. We also share its stated goal of “growing the values and practices of diversity and inclusion while seeking to promote mutual dialogue and understanding.” Watching the video of George Floyd’s death caused all of America to think about the situation that led up to those eight excruciating minutes. His death under the knee of a white police officer was also what prompted the GCRC to make explicit their condemnation of bigotry, writing that “the death of George Floyd was inexcusable, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions, without question.” In the wake of the terrible, inexcusable killing of George Floyd, a small group of Greene County women joined together to create a group called RISE to promote equality for all.

Since its founding, RISE has held peaceful protests, printed T-shirts and stickers and sponsored a voting event with local community, political and religious leaders (and some great bluegrass music). These are actions that support democracy and democratic processes. It is within this framework that RISE stands steadfast against police brutality and racism. A recent letter about RISE published in the Greene County Record made references to rioting, looting, and anarchy and broadly linked our small group to national headlines and partisan politics. RISE is a local group with a local mission. We agree with the GCRC that strength comes from “diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect” and that “mutual dialogue and understanding” are essential, especially in a small community like ours. Being inclusive, celebrating diversity and showing vehement support for the rights of all Americans to access the American Dream does not belong to any one party. For this reason, though we endorse individual candidates based on their platforms—including Dr. Cameron Webb who has fought tirelessly for equality in health care—we do not endorse any political party.

RISE Greene County supports the rights of all Greene County residents, and our emphasis is on being inclusive of groups that have traditionally been marginalized by society, including the disabled, working people who struggle to make ends meet, religious and racial minorities, formerly incarcerated people, people who identify as LGBTQ and others. RISE believes that all people deserve fair and equal treatment, both in theory and in practice, and that instead of being set on a level playing field, marginalized groups face an unfair uphill battle to achieve that American Dream. We welcome new members who share these beliefs, and we know there are many of you in Greene.

Sarah Goodbar

RISE (Resist Injustice Stand and Educate)

Ruckersville

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