Ho­gan must con­demn hate­ful ac­tions

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Chiara D’Amore all Chiara D’Amore is an ed­u­ca­tor and the founder and pres­i­dent of The Com­mu­nity Ecol­ogy In­sti­tute; her email is cdamore@com­mu­ni­tye­col­o­gyin­sti­tute.org.

Gov. Larry Ho­gan has re­ceived hun­dreds of calls in the past week ask­ing him to take a stand against the in­crease in hate­ful speech and ac­tions since the elec­tion. When I spoke with his staff sev­eral days ago, they read me a short state­ment in­di­cat­ing that vi­o­lence will not be tol­er­ated and sug­gested that the state­ment soon would be forth­com­ing pub­licly. When no pub­lic state­ment was made a day later, I called back to in­quire and was told that Gov­er­nor Ho­gan was aware of the in­crease in hate­ful speech and ac­tion in the past week but does not cur­rently have plans to come out with a pub­lic state­ment against it — they are just read­ing the state­ment I heard to call­ers. This is not ac­cept­able.

There are chil­dren in Mary­land who are now liv­ing in fear due to cir­cum­stances around which they have no con­trol — the color of their skin, their ac­cent, their re­li­gion, their dis­abil­ity, and so on. Friends of mine have been called the N-word for the first time in the di­verse and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity of Columbia. Other friends are afraid to wear any pub­lic in­di­ca­tion of their re­li­gion due to ha­rass­ment. Gov­er­nor Ho­gan has proved to be a suc­cess­ful, mod­er­ate gov­er­nor for the state of Mary­land. Now more than ever we need his thought­ful, coura­geous lead­er­ship.

This is the state­ment I wish he would make:

“The state of Mary­land may be small in size, but it is one of the great states of our great na­tion. It is one of the orig­i­nal 13 colonies and the birth­place of ‘The Star- Span­gled Ban­ner.’ We en­joy all four sea­sons and beau­ti­ful eco­log­i­cal diversity, from moun­tains to farm­land, cities, beaches and the trea­sure that is the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. We bridge the North and the South and bor­der the na­tion’s cap­i­tal. We are more than 6 mil­lion peo­ple strong and grow­ing ev­ery year. We are al­most equally rep­re­sented by peo­ple un­der18 and over 65 years old, and we ben­e­fit from the en­ergy and ide­al­ism of youth and the wis­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence of age. Women and their tremen­dous so­ci­etal con­tri­bu­tions com­prise 52 per­cent of our pop­u­la­tion. Our cit­i­zens are di­verse; we are 30 per­cent African-Amer­i­can, 10 per­cent Latino, and 7 per­cent Asian. For­eign-born per­sons com­prise 14 per­cent of our pop­u­la­tion, and we have over 400,000 vet­er­ans among us — we rec­og­nize and ap­pre­ci­ate the con­tri­bu­tions of all these groups. This is who we are as a state. Per­son­ally, I am proud to be the fa­ther to three won­der­ful women and the hus­band to a first-gen­er­a­tion Kore­anAmer­i­can, the first Korean-Amer­i­can first lady in the his­tory of the United States.

“The gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Mary­land will not con­done acts of dis­crim­i­na­tion or hate to any per­son or group of peo­ples based on race, color, re­li­gion, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, abil­ity/dis­abil­ity or na­tional ori­gin. In the past week, there has been ev­i­dence of in­creased hate crimes across this state and the coun­try. This ag­gres­sion will not stand. We re­spect peo­ple in the state of Mary­land. Acts of hate and vi­o­lence will be pros­e­cuted to the full ex­tent of the law. I call on all peo­ple, or­ga­ni­za­tions and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to stand to­gether against dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate and to work to­gether to­ward build­ing re­spect and equity for one another in all of our diversity. Mary­land will grow and pros­per by pro­tect­ing the rights of all of our cit­i­zens. Let us pledge al­le­giance to be­ing in­di­vis­i­ble in the pur­suit of lib­erty and jus­tice for all.

“In my role as a na­tional leader, I call on the in­com­ing gov­ern­ment to force­fully de­nounce the hate­ful and in­tim­i­dat­ing lan­guage and ac­tions that have been en­cour­aged by a cam­paign that fed on fear and dis­crim­i­na­tion. The ap­point­ment of Steve Ban­non, a known leader in the white supremacy move­ment, as a chief strate­gist to the pres­i­dent must be re­scinded at once in or­der for Pres­i­dent-elect Trump to keep his prom­ise of serv­ing all of the peo­ple in our great coun­try. I did not en­dorse or vote for Mr. Trump in the elec­tion. I be­seech him to step into his ser­vice as pres­i­dent of the United States with tremen­dous re­gard for the heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity of the role and to sur­round him­self with mod­er­ate ex­perts who will help him to safe­guard the fun­da­men­tal values of the United States — life, lib­erty, the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness, com­mon good, jus­tice, equal­ity, diversity, truth, pop­u­lar sovereignty and pa­tri­o­tism — and our con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ples: rule of law, sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers, rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment, checks and bal­ances, fed­er­al­ism, in­di­vid­ual rights and free­dom of re­li­gion.”

This is a mes­sage we all need — and de­serve — to hear.

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