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Mayor to lead unity rally against racism and bigotry

In the wake of violent white nationalist protests Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and more than 250 mayors from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), unveiled 10 principles to fight discrimination and injustice and promote tolerance and inclusion.

The Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry calls for mayors to “use the bully pulpit to speak out against racism, extremism, xenophobia, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry.” It also calls for fully resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes, while investing in programs and training to promote inclusion and build trust across communities. The Compact released recently was signed by more than 100 mayors.

For decades, mayors have been in the vanguard of the civil rights movement and have a record of denouncing racism and discrimination wherever it has been found.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the Gary Human Relations Commission will hold a Unity Rally and Vigil in Gary on Monday, August 28, 2017 from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.  The entire community is invited for the rally. Other invited groups include the Northwest Indiana Human Relations Commission, the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations, the NAACP, the Urban League and other civil rights agencies, activists, faith leaders, and religious, educational and political organizations.

“We will stand with the community of Charlottesville,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson “but we will also send a message of unity to all of Northwest Indiana and for all to see.”

Participants are asked to stage in front of the Gary Human Relations Commission at 839 Broadway by 7:15 p.m. Participants will walk to Gary City Hall where there will be a brief vigil. Speakers will offer words of unity and encouragement to the community.

The Compact builds off a recently released bipartisan policy proposal, Leadership for America: Mayors’ Agenda for the Future, which prioritizes policies and programs to support equity and protection of civil rights.

“Today, however, we are being challenged again,” the Compact said. “Dark forces of extremism and violent bigotry are rearing their ugly heads. We are now seeing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement. We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric, and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews, and other minorities. We will not permit them to succeed.”

The pact continued, “Mayors and their cities must continue to be a beacon for inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all. We will continue to create stronger cultures of kindness and compassion in our communities, and expect our federal and state partners to join us in this endeavor.”

The ADL and USCM initiative is centered on 10 principles:

  1. Expressly Rejecting Extremism, White Supremacy and All Forms of Bigotry
  2. Denouncing All Acts of Hate Wherever They Occur
  3. Ensuring Public Safety While Protecting Free Speech and Other Basic Constitutional Rights
  4. Calling for Fully-Resourced Law Enforcement and Civil Rights Investigations of Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes
  5. Elevating and Prioritizing Anti-Bias and Anti-Hate Programs in Our Nation’s Schools
  6. Supporting Targeted Communities and Bringing Together Civic and Community Leaders to Build Trust
  7. Celebrating Diversity, Promoting Inclusivity and Challenging Bias
  8. Promoting Law Enforcement Training on Responding to and Reporting Hate Incidents, Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism
  9. Encouraging Residents in their Communities to Report Hate Incidents and Crimes, Including Using Hot Lines and Online Tools
  10. Maintaining Civil Rights Enforcement and Strengthening Hate Crime Laws When Necessary




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