Having been in Centennial Park during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and on Boylston Street during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, these near-death experiences typically come to mind for Richard Cassidy. But on his 49th birthday, the sound of George Floyd gasping “I can’t breathe” dominated his thoughts. Self-reflection was stating, “you have never done anything during your first 49 years to rid our society of racism,” leaving him feeling ashamed and insignificant.
Cassidy is a white, privileged, heterosexual man born and raised in the south. He has never experienced anything close to racism or injustice because of gender, skin color, or sexual orientation. He has no way of understanding what it means to face discrimination. He hopes no one would say he has a racist bone in his body. But he fears lack of understanding or a hidden bias causes him to be part of the problem versus part of the solution. Has his inaction caused him to be just as guilty as those who are outwardly prejudiced? Is he a racist because he has never truly taken a stand against racism?
In his moment of truth, Cassidy turns to his belief in God and America for guidance. He realizes what he is supposed to do in this moment is to believe in the words of Jesus Christ and our founding fathers. But belief is not enough if not followed by daily action.
He realizes one cannot claim to be Christian and not love all his neighbors of every color. He realizes we are all equally worthy of love, compassion, and justice. He realizes one cannot claim to be American and not uphold the principles of our declaration and pledge. We are all created equal with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Cassidy realizes it is time to live his life in a way consistent with what God has commanded. It is time to consistently put the words of the Declaration of Independence and Pledge of Allegiance into daily action. It is time to quit sitting idly on the sideline in his privileged white life and hope for better. It is time to act and create better. It is time to change himself and play a part in ridding our society of racism, discrimination, and social injustice. Will you make a change and join him on this journey?
Purchase Richard's book, Greatest Of These Is Always Love
Other titles by Richard L. Cassidy include;