Schlossberg condemns racism, violence in New Zealand

ALLENTOWN, March 15 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding the violent attack in New Zealand.

“Today, I join Americans, Pennsylvanians, Allentownians and South Whitehall residents in mourning New Zealand's dead and condemning the racism which led to today's violence. Forty-nine people are dead -- dozens more are wounded -- and they were doing nothing but praying.

“What happened in New Zealand was a stain on the world. The attack may have been on the other side of the globe, but when something like this happens, it doesn't matter if you aren't from New Zealand. It doesn't matter if you are Muslim. This one is an attack on all of us.

“A quote I read that struck me about the story from the prime minister of New Zealand, in reference to the numerous immigrants who were killed in this story: ‘They are us.’ And, more importantly: We are them.

“This attack, like many others before it, was part of an effort to draw imaginary walls between us. Muslims and non-Muslims. Whites and non-whites. Like those before it, this attack attempted to further rend society. Like those before it, it will succeed only if we, as a civilization, allow it to do so. Racism and its relatives are resurgent in the world. This is a key moment in our history: Will we bend to ignorance and bigotry, and allow it to break us? Or will we meet this test and emerge a better, more civilized, kind and tolerant society? I choose the latter.

“As a Jewish man, I was touched beyond words at the support shown to my faith by members of all religions, races and creeds in the aftermath of the Tree of Life shooting. By coincidence, I happened to be at a Mosque that day, attending an open house, and I will never forget the kindness shown to me there by community members and Imans. Today is my day -- our day -- to return the favor,” Schlossberg said.