Dr. Hines,

As a military veteran, a child of the Deep South, child to two mothers and one of them Black, and someone who has and continues to work in the diversity space my whole life and a very active practitioner of allyship, I really want to triple underscore this point. Most Americans enjoy the freedoms bought and paid for by my fellow military peeps, MANY of whom are POC, including the hugely talented and professional drill sergeants who whipped me into shape as an enlisted woman and the many officers I was proud to serve with over the five years I was active duty. Too many do NOT understand that being a citizen of America demands service. It DEMANDS it. Those of us who have served understand we also have the right and responsibility to DEMAND that our country live up to our stated ideals. A country - just as an individual- has the sacred responsibility to require that we constantly push at the outer edges of our limited understandings, our ignorance, our blindness. We fail as a country and ARE failing as a country because we are blind, ignorant, resistant to growth. And we are in so many ways moving backward at speed. We have lost our understanding of what being a citizen means at every level, focusing almost exclusively on what we are owed vs. what we need to do to serve the larger good, and worse, that Larger Good most specifically excludes POC. That is not all of us, Dr. Hines, but too many.

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