Hate is not welcome here

The violence of this past week has shaken our nation to its core.

This weekend, we witnessed in horror the despicable acts of hatred and domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, where Klan members, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the Alt-Right gathered – not in peace but in violence. Pure and simple, they attacked America and America’s values.

A young woman, Heather Heyer, was murdered by a homegrown terrorist as she stood up for tolerance, justice and decency. As we watch what is happening in our country, a lot of us are scared. But Heather Heyer refused to give into fear and she refused to be intimidated by this small group of white supremacists who have been emboldened by Trump’s election.

On Monday, I learned that an Alt-Right rally is being planned for this weekend in Laguna Beach. Over the last several days, I have spent many hours with friends, activists and community leaders. We are united in our sorrow. We are united in our outrage. We are united in our resolve to stand up for our town, our country and our fellow Americans.  

On Saturday, August 19 from 10am-12pm, a Unity Rally will be held on Main Beach. Progressive groups from across the 48th District are coming together to plan and to support this event: Indivisible OC-48, Together We Will, Planned Parenthood, WAVE, the Laguna Beach Democratic Club and many more. To demonstrate diversity and unity, ribbons of every color will be tied around trees and light posts in Main Beach and downtown.  

The message for the Unity Rally in Laguna Beach is simple: Hate is Not Welcome Here. Not in our town. And not in our country. 

Beyond what is happening here in my hometown, I am also calling for the immediate dismissal of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka. American taxpayers should not be paying the salaries of hatemongers. Period. 

The current President has failed the most basic test of leadership and humanity.

And the Republican-led Congress is failing our people, who deserve an America in which all are treated fairly – by one another and by our government. Weak rebukes by fearful politicians, tolerating the intolerable, are just not good enough. 

Make no mistake, Donald Trump has given a green light for those with hate in their hearts to step forward. But this is not about Republicans and Democrats; this is not about right and left. This is about right and wrong. And now, more than ever, we have to stand shoulder to shoulder, locked arm in arm to fight bigotry and hatred. 

As the venerable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Harley Rouda

Laguna Beach

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