Today, in the wake of the violent outbreak in Charlottesville, Virginia, NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony sent an open letter to all city leaders on hate, inclusion and leadership. That letter is reproduced here:
Dear City Leaders:
The violence in Charlottesville this past weekend hit with a searing pain, like salt rubbed in wounds endured over generations. It was a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done on the long and difficult road of racial healing. But while racism is undeniably a part of America’s past, it has no place in our country’s future.
Saturday’s display of racist violence and bigotry has no place in our society, period. No matter what name it travels under — white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia — racialized hate is a virus that robs of us of our safety and freedom.
Overcoming this evil is a defining challenge for America’s city leaders. This is the time for you to stand up because you know your communities best. Your residents are looking to you as a convener, a healer, a listener, and a protector.
Many of you are already taking action. I was heartened to see so many of you speaking out and taking stands against hate, even when some of our federal leaders were slow to denounce the groups responsible. This week, we’ll be collecting your stories and sharing them on NLC’s blog and social media. All of America needs to hear your message, and all of America needs your leadership to move forward.
Starting today, the fight to defend our inclusive, diverse, free society is in your hands. Join together with leaders of the faith community, social activists, businesses and others to send a clear message that we will not tolerate hate and acts of domestic terrorism.
Our country will need all of you to rise to the challenge, and lead our nation to a just and more equitable future. The National League of Cities is your partner and your fiercest advocate. We will always support your leadership to move America forward.
Clarence E. Anthony
National League of Cities