Minority groups must band together to eliminate racism in America, but all citizens have the responsibility to provide leadership and bring about change, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume told a Purdue University audience.
"Too often, people enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought, never taking a principled stand," Mfume said Thursday night. "True justice will never come until those who are not injured are just as indignant as those who are."
Mfume reminded the audience of how the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded in 1909 and based in Baltimore, has been instrumental in winning human rights.
Legal lynchings, literacy tests tied to voter registration, integration of the military and desegregated schools were just a few of the group's battles.
"But news stories show that racism and hate remain alive and well in the United States," said Mfume, who offered examples of prejudice against black, Hispanic, gay and Jewish people.
Mfume said minorities must continue to build coalitions when people want to talk about the power of individual groups.
"Oppressed people should consider themselves part of a family, with bonds and ties of common need and condition," he said.