First and foremost, my heart and my prayers go out to the victims in Charlottesville, and in particular, to the family of Heather Heyer, who was murdered for standing up against racism, antisemitism, and hate. This unconscionable act of domestic terrorism demands that those of us who reject bigotry not only condemn it, but that we take action. Those who traffic in racial hatred count on the silence and inaction of people of goodwill.

Yesterday in my community, Plainfield, we held a vigil in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, but our work cannot end here. We are at a crossroads as a nation, and we must commit to a genuine and sustained effort to overcome the wrongs of the past and to fight discrimination in all of its current forms.

White supremacists and neo-Nazis want to maintain a system that oppresses anyone who is not white, male, and heterosexual, so if we really want to defeat them and their ideology then we must address the institutional inequalities that prevent all of our people from benefiting from the promise of America. Now is the time for us to unite around dismantling the systems of oppression that white supremacists are seeking to uphold and expand. To this end, we must fight for criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, affordable college, a livable wage, pay equity, and the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”