Equality California: Trump's Response to Charlottesville White Supremacist Violence "Tepid" and "Shameful"

Los Angeles - August 14, 2017 -In response to the weekend's ongoing violence at the hands of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia and today's statement by President Donald Trump, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:

"Equality California joins people of good conscience across the country in expressing our shock and disbelief at this weekend's expression of raw hatred and bigotry on display in Charlottesville, and we extend our sincere sympathies to the families of the victims of violence at the hands of white supremacists.

While it's necessary to say that there is no place for this type of hatred in our society, it's also important to remember that, while the white hoods may have been removed this time, racism has been present in our society since before the founding of the United States. While the founders of our country may have been heterosexual, white men who were both patriots and limited in perspective by their time in history, it's important to remember that our nation was founded on the backs of African slaves on land taken from Native Americans. And today, any African- or Asian-American, any Jew, any Latino, any Muslim or any LGBTQ person can tell you that intolerance has always been present in our society. The election of Donald Trump merely gave those harboring hatred in their hearts the licence to show their faces and express their bile openly.

LGBTQ people are part of every ethnic, racial and religious community and are present in every city and town in the nation. For that reason, we know better than most that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. The chants of the thugs marching this weekend in Charlottesville – anti-gay, anti-Semitic and racist – have driven that fact home and united the rest of the nation against bigotry and intolerance.

It is shameful that we still cannot unequivocally include our president in that sentiment. His statement today finally condemned the weekend's ugly, racist violence, but it should not have taken him two full days to come close to calling the spectacle what it is: domestic terror at the hands of neo-Nazi, white supremacists. The marchers clearly drew their inspiration from Kristallnacht,  from a century of cross burnings and terrorism on African-American communities and other pogroms worldwide on vulnerable ethnic communities, yet Donald Trump issued a tepid response that suggested there is some kind of moral equivalency between white supremacists and those who turned out to bravely oppose them. There is none. Only one side possesses moral authority in this case; the other is responsible for centuries of terror, genocide and the deaths of three innocent people over the weekend.

While the founders of our nation were limited in their perspectives by the time in which they lived, the institutions they put into place allow every generation of Americans to move closer to equality and social justice. Racial justice is at the core of Equality California's mission, because LGBTQ people will not be fully equal until all the communities of which we're a part are, as well. We are committed to the work ahead to make our country a healthier, more just and fully equal place for all Americans.

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org

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