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Thursday, September 14, 2017

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Letter From Senator Durbin RE: Charlottesville

September 14, 2017
Mr. William Rosen

Dear Mr. Rosen:

          Thank you for contacting me about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I appreciate hearing from you.
          On August 12, 2017, white nationalists held a rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  As the rally progressed, protestors clashed with counter-protestors and a local state of emergency was declared.  Hours later, a white nationalist drove his speeding car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 people.  The attack was seemingly not just an ugly display of racist violence, it was also an incident of domestic terrorism.  
          This brutal act reminds us that our nation’s effort to root out terrorism must include a focus on violent racism in our own backyard.  Homegrown hate groups have engaged in violence against civilians throughout our nation’s history, particularly targeting the African American community. 
          Fair and equal treatment of all Americans is a cornerstone of our society and our political system. Despite great progress, the struggle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law continues for many in our society.  No one should have to live in fear simply because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or race.  We must not, through our silence, condone tragic and brutal hate-based violence directed at anyone.
          Thank you again for contacting me.  I will keep your concerns in mind as issues of racial justice and combating violence are considered in the Senate.  Please feel free to keep in touch. 


      Richard J. Durbin
      United States Senator