According to a recent report by Anti-Defamation League, “The number of white supremacist murders in the United States more than doubled in 2017 compared to the previous year, far surpassing murders committed by domestic Islamic extremists and making 2017 the fifth deadliest year on record for extremist violence since 1970.

The report also said racist fliers, banners and stickers were found on college campuses 147 times in fall 2017, a more than three-fold increase over the 41 cases reported one year before. White supremacists and other far-right extremists were responsible for 59 percent of all extremist-related fatalities in the U.S., up dramatically from 20 percent in 2016.”

League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt pointed to the current national climate in the wake of President Trump taking office as emboldening the actions of white supremacists.

It’s time for our elected officials to speak out against hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of bigotry at every single opportunity they get. Regardless of their party affiliation, I am asking our local, state and nationally elected officials to immediately pass resolutions condemning such extremist groups the strongest possible way. This action will send a very powerful message to these groups that we will never let them divide our beloved country based on religion, ethnicity or color.

At the same time, I am encouraging every single citizen of this country to take a note of their elected officials who do not speak out against hate groups and then to contact them to urge them to do so. Your vote has much more power than money, believe me. You just have to recognize that.

It’s time for me to remind you again about President John F. Kennedy’s famous words he used in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This was his call to action for the public to do what is right for the greater good. The time has now come to fulfill his dream. Get out in masses and vote. Your timely action will save lives of so many innocent people and keep this country united. This is your turn.

We Are Many – United Against Hate is a non-partisan, non-profit, state-wide organization of common people who are urban and rural, spiritual and secular, seeking equal protection for all, united against hate, bigotry and racism. A list of our elected officials is posted on our website. So, please pick up the phone and call them.

Akhtar’s editorial was first published in the Superior Telegram this morning.