“We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed.” This phrase was written in a Washington Post op-ed co-signed by more than 140 African Americans who served the Obama administration.
The op-ed was published on Friday and written by Clarence J. Fluker, C. Kinder, Jesse Moore, and Khalilah M. Harris. Listed as a signatory is Valerie Jarrett, a friend and former senior advisor to former President Barack Obama. A representative for Obama was not immediately available for comment.
“Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least,” they said. “But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.”
The op-ed also cites President Donald Trump’s recent attacks against four US congresswomen. The authors and co-signers said they stood with Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as they have experienced being told to “go back to where you came from.”
“Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online,” they wrote. “They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.”
This comes in response to the recent tweet sent by Trump, telling the four female lawmakers to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the four women are US-born citizens, and Rep. Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia but became a naturalized citizen at the age of 17.
The White House did not immediately respond to an email from INSIDER for a comment on the op-ed.
Omar was also the subject of a racist chant of “send her back” at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina earlier this month, which began after the president accused her of anti-Semitism. President Trump stayed silent during the chant, which went on for 12 seconds. He later disavowed the chant saying he was not “happy” about it, but then called the rally attendees “incredible patriots.”
The op-ed writers call on local, state, and congressional officials, as well as the 2020 presidential candidates, to “articulate their policies and strategies … through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit.” They underlined the importance of adding more diverse representation, especially when it comes to policymaking.
“We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions,” the authors wrote.
The writers and co-signers of the op-ed said that looking to the future, their fight for equality and acceptance will only continue.
“Expect to hear more from us,” they concluded in the op-ed. “We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.”