“We have to stand united against hate-fueled violence,” President Joe Biden told those gathered in the East Room of the White House September 15 and those watching his opening address at the two-day United We Stand Summit on television and online. “Because it’s real, and you know it better than anyone—to affirm that an attack on one group of us is literally an attack on all of us.”
The president thanked the civil rights organizations that called for a summit after the devasting and deadly racially motivated May 14 Tops supermarket attack in Buffalo, New York, killing 10. He specifically named the National Urban League, Anti-Defamation League, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the National Action Network.
“There is a through-line of hate from massacres of Indigenous people, to the original sin of slavery, the terror of the Klan, to anti-immigration violence against the Irish, Italians, Chinese, Mexicans, and so many others laced throughout our history.
“There is a through-line of violence against religious groups: antisemitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh. …and that through-line of hate never fully goes away. It only hides.”
He appealed to those attending and the many watching throughout the country. “We must choose to be a nation of hope, unity, and optimism or a nation of fear and division and hate.”
“Building bridges across divides doesn’t mean we’re sacrificing our own beliefs and our core values. …In fact, the vast majority of Americans are overwhelmingly united against such violence. The vast majority of us believe in honesty, decency, and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, and possibilities.”
Communities across the country were invited to watch the summit live, engage in a national conversation about standing together against hate-fueled violence, and use the summit as a launch pad for local service and bridge-building.
The summit honored 16 “Uniters,” individuals from across America that the White House recognized as “working to bring their communities together across lines of racial, religious, political and other differences to prevent acts of hate-fueled violence, promote healing where such violence has had devastating consequences, and build unity.”
The White House announced its establishment of an “initiative on Hate-Motivated Violence to strengthen interagency coordination in preventing and responding to hate-motivated violence, leverage federal research and resources, and enhance engagement and consultation with diverse stakeholders, including communities targeted for who they are or what they believe.”
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