Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON — The National Organization for Women stands in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community following the horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue. Eleven worshippers were gunned down by a vicious anti-Semite who felt free to express his hatred towards Jews, even as he was being arrested.
Our sadness today makes us even more determined to show that hate speech, hate crimes, racism, sexism, and cruelty disguised as political conservatism has no place in American life.
The Pittsburgh shooter’s social media posts on GAB, an alternative platform expressly created to give haven and comfort to racists, shows that hate speech is being welcomed by online communities, political networks, and supporters of politicians who preach hatred and division.
A few days before the massacre in Pittsburgh, a gunman killed two African American shoppers at a Kentucky grocery store, after failing to gain entry into a nearby black church. Local media reported that when a white man who was himself armed confronted the shooter in the store to try and stop him, the gunman said, “whites don’t kill whites” and moved on.
NOW condemns not only these violent acts but also the environment that fosters, sustains and encourages them. We have an opportunity as a nation to send a message on Election Day that intolerance and bigotry have no place in our politics, our communities, or in the White House.
On Tuesday, October 30, exactly one week before the midterm election, NOW will join a national telephone town hall to mobilize a progressive response to these events. Sign up here to join the call and take a stand with us against hate. Some are calling this a “new normal,” but in fact this is the same hatred that has plagued us for centuries. It is a backlash against the 53% of Americans who voted for a liberal feminist for President, and the two electoral majorities won by our first black President. Racists and anti-Semites feel they are losing their positions of power, and they are acting, enabling and sanctioning acts of violence and terror to preserve their privilege.
A few hours after the shooting, Donald Trump suggested he might have to cancel his evening political rally because standing in the rain while making a statement to the press about Pittsburgh was causing him to have a bad hair day. It never occurred to him to cancel his plans in order to show presidential leadership or human compassion.
We have a way of speaking out against such indifference and intolerance. Our vote is our voice—and on November 6, we will use it.
NOW Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669