From: Sondra Bolte, Susan Burton, Debra Haza, Liz Nolan-Greven and Bob Pitman
Showing Up for Racial/Social Justice Steering Committee members
It is a bitter irony that as our community prepared for and then celebrated its beautiful diversity with another Ethnic Expo, we were also faced with the specter of white nationalists on our doorsteps.
The sad and difficult reality is that there are people in our community who are recruiting white people to spread hatred toward and fear of people of color and non-Christians. Our community and our country are actually stronger and more beautiful because of our acceptance and welcoming of all races, creeds and cultures. There is no room for white supremacist behavior or recruitment here.
The claim of these extremists, that they are nationalists, is a false claim of patriotism, and people need to be very aware of that. Although imperfect, this nation was built on the concept of all people being equal and all people being able to practice their own religion freely. The struggle for inclusion has been long and ongoing. It must be constantly protected by firmly rejecting white nationalists and their mission of oppression and violence against others. Those of us who celebrate the fact that this community and our country are diverse must not tolerate their behavior.
White people must stand arm and arm with our brothers and sisters of all creeds, colors and cultures and say, “No!” We won’t tolerate public demonstrations of hatred toward anyone, nor will we allow that hatred to spread fear and anxiety in our town.
White people who are silent and do not show up to say loudly and clearly, “Not here, not anywhere,” are complicit in saying, “It’s OK.” It is not OK. It is not OK to be silent or to accept white nationalist organizations that show their faces and spread their recruitment posters on our streets.
White people and people of all faith communities must not stand idly by. As Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel so eloquently said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”
Join us, as caring and responsive members of this community, as we say with one strong voice “No! This is unacceptable, and we will not tolerate it.”