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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 18, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 33
Pramila Jayapal denounces white supremacy
Section One
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Pramila Jayapal denounces white supremacy

On Friday night [August 11] in Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacists wielding tiki torches, Confederate and swastika flags and rifles gathered together at a 'Unite the Right' rally. Chanting hateful slogans and performing Nazi salutes, these white supremacists are fomenting hate and violence to build their numbers. Peaceful demonstrators gathered to protest this hate. Then, [on Saturday, August 12] in an act of terrorism, a car sped up and plowed into the crowd, killing at least one counter-protester and injuring 19. Two police officers monitoring the clashes in Charlottesville also died when their helicopter crashed.

It is an even more horrifying day when these acts take place and the President of this country refuses to acknowledge or condemn white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Instead, he painted a picture of 'hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.'

Let me be clear: there aren't 'many sides' here. There are simply two: right and wrong.

White supremacy and racist acts of violence have no place in our country. We must stand strong together, united, and reject hate in all its forms.

Acts of violence rooted in racism have spiked since Trump's election. The hatred we saw this weekend in Charlottesville isn't just present at white supremacist rallies. It has crept its way into all levels of our government, starting with Trump and his cabinet, who wasted no time pushing a xenophobic agenda of attacking communities of color and rolling back decades of civil rights progress.

Make no mistake: White supremacists are organizing and, as a decades-long organizer for justice, I believe we need to step up our efforts to organize back.

Sixteen years ago, after 9/11, I founded the organization Hate Free Zone to declare Washington State a Hate Free State and to fight for immigrant, civil and human rights. We organized tens of thousands of people across our state to enact policies and make it clear that we stand against hate and for respect for our diversity. We worked to build strong coalitions across our different issues, and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute their best selves to our communities.

Through our shared work, I learned that the strongest tools we have to fight this kind of hatred are our stories, our positive vision for a hate-free America, and - most importantly - our love. That is why I know our movement of progressive values - of treating all Americans with dignity and respect, of resisting hate in all its forms - will triumph in the end.

I'm calling on you to join me in doubling down on organizing to fight racism and injustice.

We will not allow white nationalists to instill fear in our communities. We will continue to peacefully organize and resist to confront white supremacists who hide behind freedom of speech to promote racism, bigotry and violence.

We will stand together, united against hate.

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