The racist and violent acts that occurred earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia horrified the nation. But even if the president is slow to denounce hatred and anti-Semitism in America, others aren’t. Among others, members of a national organization called the Latino Jewish Leadership Council have made it perfectly clear that they denounce these acts, consider them to be domestic terrorism, and call on federal prosecutors to take action.
On August 12, Heather Heyer was murdered and 19 others were injured when James Fields Jr., a member of the “alt-right,” plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters who attended the “Unite the Right” rally to take a stand against white supremacist ideals. According to the CDC, assault was the 17th leading cause of death in 2014 within the United States. But in the month following Trump’s election, the Southern Poverty Law Center cataloged more than 1,000 racist, anti-Semitic, and hate-fueled acts. And many fear the violence will only continue to increase.
President Trump maintained that “many sides” were to blame for what transpired. Politicians and regular citizens alike, from both sides of the aisle, were quick to tear the president apart for his message. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed the need for moral clarity.
Now, 35 Jewish and Latino leaders from all across the country, acting as the LJLC — formed this past February to “advocate for issues of shared concern and values cherished by both communities” — are speaking out for the same reasons.
In the press release, the LJLC notes:
“At this critical juncture, Americans expect moral clarity from their leaders. Words and actions are absolutely required to bring the nation together, heal wounds and prevent these despicable hate groups from further terrorizing our communities. But creating the impression of moral equivalence between neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK and demonstrators who oppose them is nothing short of offensive.”
Members of the LJLC also call on appointed and elected officials from all parties to stand united against prejudice. The organization maintains that they have repeatedly denounced the anti-immigrant, racist, and xenophobic rhetoric that has arguably been a cornerstone of the current administration since Trump’s campaign began. While the group is far from the only organization to do so, they may be encouraged to know that they’re now being joined by more privileged parties, including military leaders and former Republican presidents. The events in Charlottesville were absolutely horrific, but many of those who stand opposed to Trump are hopeful that the president’s refusal to cast blame where deserved may move even the most steadfast of Republicans to finally break away.