My mother did not teach me much, but what she did teach me was important. She once told me, “You are who your friends are.” She told me what every African American male’s mother has said to him. “You cannot have criminals as your friends. You cannot be with thugs and criminals, because when the police come, they cannot tell the difference and they will shoot all of you.”
When I was 18, I did not listen to my mother’s wise words and I had criminals as friends. I happened to be in the same place as my godfather, when I received the news that my criminal friends had been locked in jail and they wanted me to come and get them out. My godfather turned to me and said, “Choose this moment who you are. If you go to get those criminals out of jail, never speak to me again. You either have morals and values or you believe in those criminals.” That was the very last day that I ever saw my friends.
The President of the United States of America stated that there were good people standing with the KKK. You cannot be a good person and stand with the neo-Nazis and the KKK. Their scum will rub off on you. Even if there were people in Charlottesville who simply wanted to fight for their Southern culture, then that, in itself, is racist. The Southern way of life of which they speak was one based on segregation, separation, and inequality.
You cannot stand for justice and stand with the Nazis at the same time. History has taught us what happens when we stand by and watch both the Nazis and the clan do whatever they want to do.
I stand with Pearce Tefft, the father who denounced his own son when he saw him in the Nazi crowd. He told his son he denounced him, but loved him. If he changes his ways, he can return home, but until then he is a prodigal son.
I stand with this father. He has moved me tremendously. And so, I say to those whom I call friends and those who call me a friend, “If you support Donald Trump, who supported those who stood with the Nazis, you are a prodigal friend to me and when you decide that you no longer support racism, separation, and segregation, then you will always be welcomed back. As it stands, today, we cannot be friends. I will always love you, but you are ‘prodigal’ to me. As long as you support this president, I will always love you but we can no longer be friends.” I stand with Pearce Tefft.