In Greensboro, NC, we met with members of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. The committee, modeled after the one established in South Africa after apartheid, tried to resolve the tension created by the 1979 Greensboro Massacre, where Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party gunmen killed five union protesters.
We talked with Signe Waller, the widow of one of the victims. The message that hit me the strongest was when she said, “We cannot dehumanize our enemies.” She told us that there were KKK members who testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and that she had to listen to their accounts of the moments surrounding her husband’s death. She said that if she hated and dismissed those people like they hated her, she would be doing wrong like they did. I think we can all learn from her dedication to peace, as well as from how she let go of justified hatred for higher ideals.
Jessica Goldkind, Class 12