Esperanza Calls for Peaceful and Constructive Dialogue

#EsperanzaNews, Press Releases

Official Statement For Immediate Release. Philadelphia, PA – At Esperanza, we lament the terrible events that occurred last week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep.  The violence perpetrated in Charlottesville shows us the hateful, damaging, and unacceptable attitudes some of our fellow Americans have toward other human beings.  Our stance has always been to stand up for the marginalized and disenfranchised, particularly in troubled times like these.

This is perhaps why we so strongly feel an affinity to the statement recently released by the Temple University School of Law. We join them in condemning all white supremacist groups and in calling for peaceful and constructive dialogue about our nation’s challenges.  We must not be discouraged.  We must continue to work together, persistently and without equivocation, to eradicate racism, injustice, and oppression, wherever it may continue to exist.  We are proud to express our solidarity with the Temple University School of Law, and all other advocates for peace and justice. 

Read the full statement of Temple University School of Law below. 

Temple University Beasley School of Law | Student Bar Association 1719 North Broad Street | Philadelphia, PA 19122 sbamail@temple.edu

August 16, 2017.

We, the student members of the Temple University Beasley School of Law community, express our deepest condolences for the loss of the lives of counter protester, Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Troopers: Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates. We also express our unwavering support and allyship for all communities impacted by the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of the terrorism and violence propagated by the white nationalists who descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally.

We unequivocally condemn, by name, all neo-Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, white nationalist, and any other white supremacist groups. These groups overtly espouse racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and other harmful ideologies that represent an unfortunate past and present of this country. Together we demand better for our future. To that end, we unequivocally reject any moral equivalency between these groups and the counter protesters.    These groups also allege that their ideology represents Republican political conservatism. We do not accept this, and we know that these few do not represent the whole. Over the past days, many conservatives, including leaders, have stood up to denounce what happened in Charlottesville. Many have even proclaimed that the supposed “altright” is a “cancer” whose offensive ideologies—fueled by racism, bigotry, and hate—do not represent the conservative movement. This issue transcends politics. These events offer an opportunity for a moment of clarity—an opportunity for all of us to recognize that we must fully condemn and reject these antiquated ideologies, and work together to guarantee a better future.

As law students, we recognize that neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, white supremacists, and white nationalists all have a First Amendment right to assemble and to speak about their repugnant ideologies. We recognize that our First Amendment rights sometimes come at a cost to our neighbors’ humanity. However, the public gathering permit that they lawfully obtained did not grant them a right to commit acts of terror or violence, and it does not protect them from the consequences some now face in the private sphere, such as lost employment or severed family ties.  Accordingly, we must all take a similar stand to repudiate implicit and explicit forms of bigotry whenever the opportunity arises.

These events are sad reminders that we do not live a post-racial, post-anti-Semitic, post-xenophobic, or post misogynistic society. But to many of us, they are unsurprising; they are symptoms of a disease that literally kills, and continues to prevent America from truly becoming the country we were intended to be. As the events in Charlottesville illustrate, there are many who still long for a past in which power is concentrated in a few with power over the many. As law students in the city where our nation was debated and crafted, we instead march toward a future of true and equal justice under the law.

The cross burnings and torches carried by Klan members riding atop horses in the middle of the night have been replaced by tiki-torch-carrying men and women wearing khakis and polo shirts. However, their goals remain the same—to create a society in which cisgender, straight, white men reign supreme, and ideals of equality, inclusion, and diversity are blasphemy. These individuals do not live in a vacuum; they live and work among us as next-door neighbors, teachers, lawyers, judges, politicians, guidance counselors, employers, police officers, and coaches. Equipped with their hateful ideology, they are the gatekeepers to the pursuit of life, liberty, property, and happiness. Many stayed home from Charlottesville, not out of rejection of those repugnant ideologies, but out of fear of losing their positions of power.

As members of the Temple Law, legal, and broader communities, we will lead by example and do our part to promote thoughtful, robust discussion and debate. Debate may be polarizing at times, but that is a critical element of our legal system and our democracy. However, we will always come together to swiftly and unequivocally denounce hate. Beyond condemning the racist violence from last weekend, we must condemn racism in all of its forms—especially in our own communities. Let us draw motivation from this tragedy to strengthen our bonds as Temple Law students.   

As the Temple University motto says, Perseverantia Vincit – “Perseverance Conquers.”

Signed, with 100% Solidarity from Temple Law Student Organizations and Associations in Solidarity