Condemn racial violence, fund school tolerance programs
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On Friday, August 11th, 2017, White Nationalists, Neo Nazis, and assorted members of the political far-right marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia as part of their "Unite The Right" rally. This rally, organized by far-right political leaders, was created in an attempt too unify the factionalized far-right and convince them to work together. They picked Charlottesville because earlier this year the City Council voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park. They later voted to rename Robert E. Lee Park to Emancipation Park. The protests were clearly intended to intimidate the community and local leaders.
Over the course of the weekend, these far-right protesters initiated violence against anti-racist counter protesters. This eventually led to an incident in which a car charged through a crowd, killing 32-year-old counter protester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. On the same day, 20-year-old African American counter protester Deandre Harris was savagely beaten by a group of white supremacists in Emancipation Park. His injuries included a broken wrist, a chipped tooth, and a laceration to the head that required 8 staples.
Photos of the assault showed that one of the attackers was a Mason resident.
Frankly put, this is not surprising. White supremacy and violent racist rhetoric are plaguing the minds of people in communities like Mason all over the country. Challenges to the status quo by marginalized groups are causing middle class white men to become violent and reactionary in record numbers. This upheaval in disdain and anger is what allowed Donald Trump to become President of the United States and his victory emboldened angry, malicious racists in numbers we haven't seen in decades. If we wish to combat this upswing in toxic and violent behavior must be confronted head on, both here and elsewhere.
Today we call on Mayor Victor Kidd and the entire Mason City Council to condemn the actions of the Mason native and other White Supremacists in no uncertain terms. Many throughout the world have now heard the words "Mason, Ohio" for the first time, and the context was anything but pretty. Mason is a diverse community that must stand up to this sort of hatred and bigotry. It is imperative that our community leaders explicitly condemn the violence perpetuated by the far-right. Now is not the time for stale rhetoric about "both sides being equally bad." It is not the time to deflect. It is the time to face the brutal fascism and white nationalism that is on our doorstep and stand up to these bullies once and for all.
In addition, we call on the leadership of Mason City Schools to work with community leaders to create a robust diversity education program for the district. Successful programs from elsewhere in the country should be researched and emulated. It is absolutely imperative that we teach tolerance as effectively and thoroughly as possible to the students of Mason. They are our future, and we want them to build a future worth being proud of. They are capable, smart students. We must equip them to make the world a better place.
We hope that our pleas do not go unnoticed. Please, think about our children and our community. Do the right thing.
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