06/22/2015 12:44 pm ET Updated Jun 22, 2016

After Charleston

Kena Betancur via Getty Images

Following the nine murders in Charleston, the most amazing thing has been the public reaction of the victims' families, who have, as they say, refused to let the mass murders push them into hatred. Instead of calling for revenge, or even "justice," they offered forgiveness. It is the strongest affirmation of nonviolence that I have ever heard.

Now all us white folks, listen carefully: The ball is in our court. It is up to us to get the guns off the street and to become nonviolent ourselves. If we're just bystanders and grievers, we're giving the support of silence to the racists among us.