Southeast Delegation releases Charlottesville statement

HARRISBURG, Aug. 18 - Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., the members of the Southeast Delegation released the following statement:

“We, the members of the Southeast Delegation of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus, watched in horror the open display of hate and bigotry from neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday, August 12th. A display that quickly turned violent and deadly.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, who was killed in an act of hate-fueled terror, to the family and friends of the officers who died in the line of duty – Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates – and to the many others injured and traumatized that day.

“In the aftermath, we are standing together with our families, our communities, and colleagues for support and strength in the face of this inhumane, racist moment. And we rightly look to our leaders, of any party and stripe, to clearly and full-throatedly denounce hate — and to reaffirm our country’s founding principle that all are created equal.

“That moral authority that we search for was grotesquely missing in our president.

Instead, President Trump displays sympathy for fanaticism; blame for violence on both the purveyors and victims; and an unashamed ignorance. At a time when our country needs a leader who will unite us, this president, again, pushes us apart.

“Sadly, this past weekend’s events are the culmination of a president whose election and administration has been marked by antagonistic, divisive, and bellicose rhetoric that has only emboldened hate groups.      

“So it remains up to us: as legislators we call out bigotry and hate; we will continue to fight discrimination and violence in our commonwealth; and we remember that as un-American as these views and actions are, these people are Americans, some our neighbors and relatives.

Nelson Mandela reminds us that, ‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. There is hope in that truth, for just as hate is learned, so can it be rejected, replaced with compassion and love.’

“Our nation has faced organized bigotry and prejudice before, and we fought back. So, too, will we overcome this dark moment in history and grow stronger together.”