We have heard complaints that removing the Confederate flag and other symbols of hatred is a distraction from the larger problems facing our nation. I agree that significantly more work must be done to address racism and persistent inequality in our nation. But symbols matter. They can connect us, they can tear us apart.
The road is long, but we must stay on course in the name of Jimmie Lee Jackson, killed by police in 1965 Selma and Michael Brown, shot down by police in 2014 Ferguson--and countless others who sacrificed their lives for change. We must keep faith in an America of the future, a better America that can treat all its people fairly, white, black or brown.