America must confront White Supremacy
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded just days after one of the most horrific incidents of racially motivated violence in the history of our nation. Four days before Iota came into existence, four little Black girls were murdered in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama by White supremacists. Now, almost 6 decades later, we have witnessed another episode of racist hate when an 18- year-old White supremacist walked into a Buffalo, New York supermarket and shot and killed ten Black people, with the intent of murdering more. This was a pure act of evil, rooted in racial paranoia.
The Brotherhood of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of this horrendous crime. We also extend our prayers to the people of Buffalo and the community that has been directly impacted by this act of domestic terrorism.
America has a problem. It is a problem that is rooted in this nation's history of oppressing Black people and the perpetuation of White supremacy. The assailant in this case, a teenager, traveled two hundred miles with hate in his heart, determined to murder Black people. His every thought, evidenced by his 180-page White supremacist manifesto, was preoccupied with the idea that Black people were expendable and a threat to the White race. President Biden called that thinking a "sickness,' and the president was right, but it is so much more. It is tradition, extending from the violent enslavement of Africans, the inhumane treatment of Black people during the Black Codes and Jim Crow, the lynching and White mob violence targeting Black people, and the brutality we experience at the hands of law enforcement daily. America's problem is racism, and it was racism that drove Payton Gendron to Buffalo with murder on his mind.
As we pause to remember the ten lives lost, those who will never return home again to their families and friends, we also urge states to act against hate crimes and to close loopholes in gun ownership laws. We also believe that it is imperative for public school districts' curriculum to offer Black history courses and a truthful accounting of American history. For an 18-year-old to harbor such hate is a clear indication that he was indoctrinated with misinformation that helped shape his warped ideas and racist ideology. While the prospect of federal action is remote at this time, we believe states must step up and implement legislation that will deter such heinous acts or impose penalties of significance that will offer a true measure of justice for victims and their families.
Iota chapters across the nation stand with the people of Buffalo, and this fraternity will continue to challenge, push, and work for a better America in which Black people will stand as equals under the law and be treated as such. Sean D. Housen, Sr. 23rd International Grand Polaris Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. "It takes a Man, Be that Man" #oneiota