LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After 20 years in the United States Marine Corps and 12 years as a high school teacher, a Texas man is now spending his days on the road promoting unity.
He is doing this by traveling the country, visiting 100 cities, and spreading his message one conversation at a time.
"We really believe that if we would think less about color and more about character that we would be better off," said Carlen Charleston.
Charleston created E.R.A.S.E. Race: The American Unity Movement in 2018 when he was assigned to come up with a project while working on his master's degree that would fundamentally transform our culture.
"And so I picked this concept of race," said Charleston. "As I began to research it, I began to realize most people, scientists some from the early thirties believe that this [race] wasn't real, and I was like, 'So why are we using it?'"
So, Charleston hit the road in June, leaving his home in Texas with the mission of visiting 100 cities, shaking hands, visiting people and places all while striving for unity as a human race.
"It has really been phenomenal," Charleston said. "To travel the country and go to the places in our country and meet the people is what most Americans need to do."
He said there have been surprising interactions and poignant moments. He has stopped along sites of historic importance like the Liberty Bell and Harriet Tubman's home.
Charleston will make his final stop in December, but his work will be far from done. His life is The American Unity Movement, and he is hopeful, one day soon, that people truly will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
"That's my vision... that we have people and we can respect people and live with people," Charleston explained.
To follow along on his journey, learn more or donate, click here.