Our Statement On The Recent Shootings In Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton

All of us at Free Speech For People are heartbroken and outraged by the violence that took place in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton over the past week. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the fallen and injured.

While the motives of the murderers in Gilroy and Dayton are not clear as of the time of this writing, the El Paso shooter made his motives quite clear. He left a manifesto ranting about immigration and stating that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”—language that President Trump uses again and again.

We stand together with all Americans who are denouncing the neo-Nazi and white supremacy movements, which converged on Charlottesville in 2017. Sadly, they have a long history in our country, and we must remain vigilant in standing up and speaking out against this racism, hatred, and bigotry. And we must do so now more than ever because these movements
today have the implicit — and sometimes explicit — support from the highest levels of our government.

It’s no secret that white supremacists have been emboldened by the rhetoric of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and by his current administration. That is not speculation; it’s what they themselves are saying. They heard Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants, about protesters, about countless other groups. And they witnessed his incitement of violence at his campaign rallies against those who dared to stand up to challenge his racist and hateful statements.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution provides that “We the People of the United States” establish the Constitution “in Order to form a more perfect Union.” We cannot achieve a more perfect Union if powerful government officials endorse, or refuse to immediately condemn, hatred and violence against our neighbors, friends, and family.

Soon after the election in November 2016, we issued a statement calling upon then President-elect Trump and all public officials “to completely and totally repudiate all elements of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other
protected group status, and all forms of authoritarian governance that threaten the constitutional rights of all Americans.” Sadly, rather than heed that call, President Trump has doubled down on racism, authoritarianism, and encouraging violence.

Free Speech For People pursues our work with such passion because we believe that people, first and foremost, are entitled to dignity and political equality under our constitutional system. Donald Trump’s presidency has undercut not just the letter of the law with his violations of the Constitution, but also the spirit of it when he is silent in the face of grave injustice.

The United States has often fallen short of the promise in the Declaration of Independence that all people “are created equal.” And other presidents have not been without fault. But Trump’s efforts to undermine American values from within are dangerous and unprecedented in the modern era. While Trump continues to inflict grievous immediate and long term
harm on our people and the fabric of our nation, Congress continues to do nothing. The nation can no longer wait. Congress must begin impeachment proceedings on a fast track now.

We stand with all those committed to peaceful resistance to protect justice, equality, and democracy for all.

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