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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 18, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 33
Jenny Durkan responds to Charlottesville violence
Section One
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Jenny Durkan responds to Charlottesville violence

Yesterday [August 12], I joined many voices to condemn the violent and hateful acts of white supremacists in Virginia. Their acts and their hate have no place in any corner of our country. They have been emboldened by a President who not only refuses to condemn them, but who has built an administration with the bricks of hate, resentment and division. Every day he appeals to our lesser angels. Every day he betrays the fundamental promise of America.

The promise of America is that every person has the same right and same opportunity to thrive, succeed and follow their dreams. The beauty and power of this promise is unconditional. The promise is made to all. It cannot be denied because of race, gender, who a person loves or what they believe. It also cannot be denied because of age, heritage or economic status. The promise of America is a beacon that has shown across the globe. For generations, it has inspired millions to build a more perfect world.

As Americans, we must be the guardians of this promise. We must fight not only to protect it, but to make it real.

Condemning the racist acts of the Virginia mob is in a way too easy. It allows us to direct the focus on the most extreme, without examining more honestly the harder truths about inequality and racism - both individual and institutional - in America. We all bear responsibility for the fact that the American promise has been denied to so many. Too many children wake each day in poverty. Too many parents and grandparents struggle to end that, but cry themselves to sleep. Too many fear how they will be treated on a street, in a store or by the police. Too many have been denied basic dignity, or crushed by systems that perpetually deny access to the American promise.

Making the promise real requires more honesty: in our hearts, our homes and our communities. It starts here. In the churches, schools, neighborhoods and homes of Seattle. We must admit and confront the undeniable inequities in our city. Racism and racial inequality in America and Seattle cannot be denied. The racial gaps in our schools, our neighborhoods and in our economic opportunities are real. Closing these gaps, delivering on the American promise, remains the moral challenge of our time. We must - we can - come together as a city to meet this challenge. We must act. We must bend the arc of justice more firmly. That is the best answer to Charlottesville and whenever and wherever hate shows its face, as it did in Seattle today.

I have the privilege of running to lead our city. That gives me an opportunity to talk to thousands of you - to listen and learn - and to put forward ideas for how we deliver on the promise of Seattle and America. I will continue to do that over the coming weeks and months. Not everyone gets that chance, but your voices are needed in this conversation. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. We can only solve this together.

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