On behalf of the Urban League of Greater Madison, I would like to express condolences to the family of Heather Heyer who was killed standing up against hate and to Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates who died while assisting with public safety resource efforts. We admire their leadership, courage, and public service, and our prayers go out to these families along with the many others who were injured in Charlottesville.
My heart is heavy as I reflect upon the horrifying expressions of extreme and overt hatred that has unfolded in Charlottesville. These self-proclaimed Nazis and Fascists rallied under the pretext of ” protecting free speech.” Yet it is clear from the helmets and weapons they came armed with, that they were ready to cause disturbance and even bodily harm to opposition protesters.
Even more disappointing to me though, is a White House administration that has been reluctant to call this what it is – an act of domestic violence – and to state unequivocally that this is not acceptable in the United States of America. I applaud the many elected leaders, including Republicans such as Sens. Ben Sasse and Cory Gardner and Speaker Paul Ryan who have spoken out clearly against these white supremacist groups, and who have refuted attempts to equate their efforts with those of the counter-protesters.
I am convinced at this moment that the world is watching and wondering, “where is the moral leadership of America?” As a country, we have come too far to revert back to the devastating and discriminatory practices of the past. The poisonous venom of white supremacy and racism has left a festering stain on world history and it should never be permitted to raise its heads again.
I join with the National Urban League and others in the Urban League Movement across the country in calling upon everyone with a voice to condemn these demonstrations and these racist sentiments in the strongest possible terms. This is not who we are as a society and as a nation.
I stand squarely with my black and brown, Jewish, immigrant, and other oppressed brothers and sisters in saying “this is unacceptable.” I hope you will join me in stamping out the fires of hate and racism, and demanding that our elected leaders set an example of high moral order.