It could be my simple mind or naiveté why I keep coming back to one conclusion. Leadership has never been about dictating orders or overpowering or dominating people. Effective moral leadership is about trust. It is about gaining, maintaining and fostering the trust of individuals, teams and communities to allow us to step amongst them and provide a direction.

Over the last couple of decades, the U.S. Army has taught me and many others about military tactics, weapons, power; but we have also learned how at the center of it all are the people. The people are the center of gravity, the one aspect of all conflicts and societies in general that if not cared for and considered to be the priority; it will lead to the erosion of any organization or nation.

As soldiers, many of us have deployed far and wide carrying the message of good governance and safety for other nations. It is disheartening that we seem to have lost such credibility and our way as a nation. However, more importantly, this is the time when we must take account of our failures and implement changes to correct our moral compass. It is the time to secure, protect and uplift our marginalized communities and tell the world this is who we are; protectors, providers, and caregivers of our people.

We must be able to acknowledge and proclaim it out loud; Black lives matter.

Jorge Mendoza, Bemidji, is Dean of Student Affairs at Leech Lake Tribal College.