August 16, 2017
A Statement on Recent Events in Charlottesville, VA:
The racism, hatred and bigotry recently witnessed in Charlottesville not only attacks our core belief that all are created equal, but threatens the freedom for which so many have fought and died. The struggle to achieve the founding ideals of our nation has been hard fought from the beginning, but progress has been steady as freedom and equal opportunity has been extended to more and more of our citizens. Groups like the KKK and White Nationalists and others who initiated the demonstrations in Charlottesville are a threat to America that cannot be excused and must be confronted.
We must respond to this attack on our country with purpose and resolve worthy of those who sacrificed so much to bequeath to us this great nation. The Stennis Center’s namesake, John C. Stennis, was wrong in his position on civil rights while representing Mississippi during an especially turbulent time in our nation’s history. Yet he later honored those who fought for civil rights, crediting them with not only extending freedom to those who had previously been denied freedom, but for freeing his own soul. He saw that repressing any of our fellow citizens brings us all down and stains us.
Therefore, we must take a stand against those who seek to undo the progress we have made as a nation and push us back to a time when anger and hatred stained the soul of our nation. The Stennis Center stands ready to recruit, encourage, train and equip public service leaders who have courage and conviction to resist regressive movements, and the energy and commitment to work to continue to spread freedom and equality in pursuit of a more perfect union.
Rex G. Buffington, II