A Note From Samar Ali
I was reading to my daughter when I heard the news. Texts poured into my phone. My friend who works in the Capitol building sent me a video of the front lawn. Angry Americans filled the camera lens. Witnessing events unfolding before my eyes, I remembered that we have a choice. We can choose to be Americans. We can choose to work for one another and commit to a better future. We can choose to be family, neighbors, and a country. We can also choose to give up. We can quit this democratic experiment and watch it collapse. We can choose to flout the privileges we have been given. We can turn our backs on our family, neighbors, and our country.
Today, I made a choice. I have to wake up each and every morning and make this choice. I chose to be a proud American. I will raise my daughter as a proud American because I believe that we still have a future together. Our democracy is under siege. I know that American democracy is imperfect. However, it is worth the work. I fight for a better democracy because I want all of our children to live freely in this country and work for its betterment. I want future generations to be able to stand up for justice, to speak out, and live happily in an America in which we can all belong.
I ask each of you to renew your choice to be Americans today. I ask you to commit to living together, as one country. It is difficult to ignore the threats in our own home. Mass radicalization, misinformation, disinformation, racism, polarization, and political violence are all very serious issues that will not disappear overnight. They will not disappear if we do not work for something better.
We founded Millions of Conversations because we saw the threats that we face today. We have been working for years to de-escalate tensions in our country because we believe that we can forge a path toward peace. Let us recommit to belonging in America, together. That begins with listening. As difficult as it is right now, I ask you to both hear and humanize your fellow Americans. When we listen, we begin to humanize one another. We realize that our shared experiences build empathy. With this empathy, we embrace our common values. When we live out those values, we shape our shared future. Only then will we be able to embark, in solidarity with one another, on the truth and reconciliation process that this country desperately requires. When we commit to each step on this journey, we also commit to building a sustainable peace. That is our future. That is our children’s future. With this journey in mind, I commit once again to you. I commit to this country. I commit to peace.