My fellow Americans.
That salutation has often been used by presidents and politicians. It is intended to give us a sense of inclusiveness and commonality as citizens.
Unfortunately, the vision of America in that phrase is still far from the reality experienced by many Americans. On Thursday, as I reflect on what transpired last week in Washington, D.C., I am reminded of that phrase.
The scene is of members of Congress cowering under their desks in fear and confusion. My fellow Americans, this is what it feels like when the lynch mob is coming for you.
This is what it feels like when you are a 13-year-old Black girl trying to get home and you encounter a White mob chanting “2-4-6-8, we Don’t Want to Integrate” on the day 60 years ago when another little Black girl was being escorted to school.
This is what that fear feels like when you walk the picket lines in front of New Orleans City Hall while still in high school.
Yes, my fellow Americans, representatives and senators, this is what it feels like when the lynch mob is coming for you.
Was it the pounding of your heart and tightness in your chest that seized you when you realized that your sacrosanct chamber of safety was breached? Is that what enlightened and expanded your consciousness?
Can you feel me now?
HENRYNNE A. LOUDEN