Dear friends and neighbors,
As we gather ourselves this week, following the heinous and violent actions of Neo-Nazis, KKK members and white supremacists who descended upon Charlottesville, I ask that each of us recommit ourselves to peaceful and thoughtful dialog with one another and with those with whom we disagree. We will be organizing a community meeting at the suggestion of a constituent- "How Can We Learn That Having Different Beliefs Doesn't Make Us Enemies." I am committed to hosting as many of these community meetings as we need.
That being said, the people who came to protest in Charlottesville are intent on pushing hate and division, plain and simple. They have no wish to create a thoughtful dialog nor find common ground. Neo-Nazis, KKK and other white supremacists groups and their actions must not be normalized or accepted. This was not about a statue.
I join my colleagues in the House of Delegates and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in calling upon the General Assembly to:
Pass bills to track hate crimes and publicly welcome all. Bills were proposed last year to track hate crimes and welcome all to Virginia, but were defeated or not even considered.
Establish a task force to propose how Virginia can create an environment that welcomes and offers the opportunity to all (people of color, Muslims, immigrants, women, LGBT and poor white men).
Our political environment has become so toxic that friends, neighbors and family members all around the USA have lost the ability to listen to one another, to have a respectful, yet passion-filled debate with one another. Worse than that, three people died here in Virginia over the weekend...
I believe that the current president and his spokespersons have done everything they can to fan the flames of anger and resentment because it's been a great political tool. We've got to stop this. We've got to stand together and say that hate has no home here. And we've got to find political solutions that help everyone find opportunities for success and protect the civil rights of everyone.
You have my pledge to continue working with you to move forward from this terrible, senseless tragedy.