Yesterday, As I met with members of the Ward 1 community at Suntrust Plaza, there was an atmosphere thick with anxiety and concern for what today's events would hold. Today the District will play host to a group of White Supremacists, whose hate speech and attitudes directly clash with the values of love and acceptance we hold dear in Ward 1, and across the District.
To have to use the words "White Supremacist" in 2018 is appalling and disgusting, but I use these words with purpose. This is not the “Alt-Right”. This is not “First Amendment Activity”. We must call this by name; a White Supremacist rally, that goes beyond racism to champion a lifestyle that does not reflect the true spirt of America in the 21st century.
I am saddened but not surprised by this recent uptick of overt racism, misogyny, sexism, homophobia, islamophbia, xenophobia and anti-semitism. But what truly angers me is to seeing our own DC Councilmembers spew racist and anti-semitic rhetoric that goes unchecked by their peers on the DC Council, who simple issue a “slap on the wrist”. This is not leadership. This is fostering a culture and acceptance of hate in our community.
The District has some of the strongest hate crime laws in the country and as Councilmember I plan to uphold them, to make sure we are not just one of the most diverse communities in the country, but we are also one of the safest.
There are many different ways to protest this weekend. Local business are choosing to close there doors to these people; in a clear message that says, “you may have your freedom of speech, but your words of hate and anger have consequences.” Others are simply choosing to surround themselves with love, friends and family.
For those planning to counter protest; stay safe, look after the person next to you, listen to the MPD and don’t do anything you would do outside of a rally. Let us lead by example by not playing into their hate and violence. Instead lets confront them with the peace and dignity that reflects our diverse and inclusive community.
As First Lady Michelle Obama once said: "when they go low, we go high".
Be strong, be brave and be safe.