Who We Are
The Reimagining America Project: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Charlotte began our work in 2020 immediately after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler and former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts met in the street protests that night in Charlotte. They walked together and lamented the fact that racial bias and discrimination continues to cause harm to our nation, and too many past efforts have not focused on the root of the problem. They decided to gather others to focus together on more lasting solutions, and held the first commission meeting in May 2020.
To call to account the history of racialized oppression in Charlotte, and then to foster — through testimony, witnessing, and atonement — measurable systemic changes to end systemic racism permanently.
The Myth of Racism
Over the years of our colonial history and our federation as a democracy, America has lived with two competing visions. On the one hand, we deem ourselves exceptional because we are emboldened by the premise that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal.” On the other hand, we are beholden to a legitimating ideology called race that has intentionally and systemically fostered a hierarchy of humanity with attendant disparity based upon phenotypical presentation of skin color.
These two ideologies are not just incompatible, they are fundamentally irreconcilable. They have fostered a schism in the American psyche that has prevented us from living up to our exceptional ideals. If we are to be the nation of our greatest aspirations, we cannot do so until once and for all we have addressed the notion of race.
As anthropologists, biologists, and geneticists have attested, there is no such thing as “race” as an objective reality. The concept only exists as a “social construct” that is only possible due to the consent that we give to that notion. In essence, “race” is not real. It is an idea that has been ingrained in the American mind to legitimate the taking of people from land, and the taking of land from people; to selectively apportion wealth, power, and privilege along predetermined lines; and to legitimate the imbalances that these ideas have created by serving as a justification for systemic inequality.
Thus, we have created the Reimagining America Project, acknowledging the false nature of the concept of race and determining that this idea should no longer have the power to shape the lives of people in this world. “Race” should no longer be allowed to foster disparate outcomes for different people based on the color of skin. The false idea of race should not impact every aspect of our lives, should no longer be allowed to delimit opportunities based upon the color of one’s skin, should no longer be allowed to divide us as human beings into allegedly better and worse types entitled to different benefits and suffering differing liabilities.
“Race” is something that we as human beings made, and it is long since time that we realize our collective power to eliminate this ideology and root out its manifestations in our society. We have the power to foster the change that we would like to see, and it is now time that we begin to work towards that end.