By Alana Abramson
August 31, 2017

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz is urging anyone in a leadership position to step in and contribute to uniting the country following the divisive attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“All of us in positions of power — politicians, parents, chief executives and educators — must see ourselves as part of history’s bigger picture and ask, ‘What is my responsibility to the republic?'” Schultz wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times Thursday.

Schultz described how, right before the Charlottesville attacks, he had visited the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and discussed his belief that the divisions and ultimate unification of the country back then can serve as lessons for today.

“With words and actions, better angels emerged then. They must do so again today,” he wrote.

Schultz did not explicitly mention President Trump’s controversial response to Charlottesville, in which he said “both sides” were to blame for the violence that emerged after a white nationalist rammed his car into a counter-protest to a white supremacist rally, but he did highlight the importance of officials speaking out against hate.

“We look to leaders to condemn vitriol and intolerance, as well as to reaffirm our foundational values,” he wrote. “Not enough of our elected officials are using their voice with due force and eloquence to elevate the ideal of equality.”

Despite the current problems that plague the country, he said, Schultz still has confidence in the American experiment.

“What do we say to all our children so they, too, may forge ahead? We can tell them that America remains a beacon of hope, but we must stay humble and serve our country, abroad and in communities, to earn her freedoms,” he wrote.

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