Coalition of Elected Leaders, Civil Society Groups Send Open Letter to the White House Ahead of Anti-Hate Summit Urging Not Just Words, But Action to Combat Extremism

WASHINGTON, DC -- A coalition of elected leaders and civil society groups have sent an open letter to President Biden and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan E. Rice ahead of the September 15th United We Stand Summit on countering hate-fueled violence, urging the White House to treat the summit as an opportunity for action, not just ideation, to combat the growing threat of extremism and political violence. The letter explains:

“States need support from the federal government to respond to white nationalism and political violence, including clear condemnation of the antisemitic “great replacement” conspiracy theory and policies that tackle this threat head-on. This support should include stronger laws and enforcement to prevent unlawful paramilitary activity, more training and support for government employees and local elected officials responding to attacks, examination of political bias in law enforcement, improved information sharing across municipalities and agencies, and a dedicated desk at the Department of Justice, focused specifically on anti-democracy and hate groups.”

You can read the full letter HERE: www.westernstatescenter.org/white-house-summit 

The letter then offers seven tangible actions that the Biden administration could consider to reduce the threat to national security and our local communities from hate violence, among those are: 

  • Law enforcement should play a role in addressing this crisis but cannot be the entire solution.

  • Protecting and supporting all public employees, including supporting law enforcement targeted by bigoted and anti-democracy groups. 

  • Grants to counter the impacts on local governments. 

The letter was organized by the Western States Center, an organization working to counter political extremism and violence, and signed by signed by a growing list of more than 30 regional leaders ranging from Oregon statewide elected officials, mayors, city and county commissioners, and local school district officials, as well as statewide business, faith, labor and nonprofit community groups. You can see the full list here

The September 15th United We Stand Summit: Countering Hate-Fueled Violence Together, is the White House’s effort to “counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared, bipartisan vision for a more united America.” According to the White House, the summit aims to include members of communities around the country who “are working to bring their communities together across lines of racial, religious,  political and other differences to prevent acts of hate-fueled violence.”

“We are inspired by the broad coalitions of local elected leaders, civil servants, and community members who have raised their voices against violence and bigotry every day, and appreciate the White House for calling attention to it,” said Eric K. Ward, Senior Advisor at the Western States Center. “But the burden of responding to hate and political violence cannot be limited to local government leaders. Local government requires federal relief and support in addressing our country’s existential threat that is white nationalism and hate violence.” 

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