Few stories in our country’s recent history rattle me quite like the murder of Emmett Till. A 14-year-old Black Chicagoan visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955, Till was ripped from his bed in the middle of the night, tortured, and killed for allegedly whistling at a White woman. Some historians cite his murder as the spark that ignited the civil rights movement. His mother, the late Mamie Till-Mobley, agreed, once calling Emmett “the sacrificial lamb of the movement. “
How far we’ve regressed. According to an annual report by the FBI, hate crimes have been on the rise in this country for the past few years. In fact, in 2020, more than 10,000 people claimed to be victims of hate crimes because of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or disability—an increase from the year before. Last year’s rise in hate crimes against Asians illustrates this ugly trend.
We need to do better, to teach our children better. And that starts at home. In this month’s issue, Shannon K. Evans’ article, “Helping Children Face Racism, ” is about raising a child of color in an uncertain world. “My task in raising a Black son is to help him cultivate racial identity and pride, ” Evans writes. “He deserves to feel proud of the resilient, intelligent, creative, powerful community he belongs to, and it is my joy to assist him. “
We agree. And if you are reading these words, regardless of your skin color, sexual orientation, or gender identity, we’re glad you’re here.