As members of the Spring Valley Discussion on Race (SVDoR), we feel it important to speak out about the events sweeping the nation and the world regarding the latest claiming of a black life by the police. As citizens of the rural U.S. in the midst of economic and health crises, we see our fates now more than ever tied to everyone else on the planet. And we are conflicted about how to support the struggle for equality and justice for all from our positions within a white dominant county. We both appreciate the privileges of rural living and loathe the lack of the cultural, social and economic benefits a diverse population brings.

Our group was formed to encourage dialogue about the forces of racism, which continue to impact all Americans, and to work to make our rural communities more welcoming. This is not easy work. Not only is it emotional, it is complex and seemingly unending. As Civil Rights Activist and Congressman John Lewis said in an interview with Trevor Noah, "The fight for racial justice does not happen overnight, it is a lifelong commitment."

This week, we stand in solidarity with those demanding change in racist policies and practices. While we do not condone violence as a tactic, we see where it is coming from. We urge the governor and attorney general to oversee a thorough and fair investigation, and we urge all residents to find ways to talk about and break down racist forces.

Eva Barr, Pam Freet, Kara Johnston, Michelle de la Vega, Spring Valley