FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Responding to Charlottesville, U.S. Conference of Mayors and ADL
Join on Action Plan to Combat Hate, Extremism & Discrimination
More than 200 mayors pledge to vigorously fight bigotry, work to build tolerance in their cities
‘Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry’ calls for fully-resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes
New York, NY/Washington, August 18, 2017 – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and The Anti-Defamation League today announced a new joint plan to fight extremism and bigotry and promote justice and equality in response to the disturbing hate and violence seen in Charlottesville, Va. More than 200 mayors from across the country representing USCM so far have pledged to implement the plan.
USCM partnered with ADL to develop the 10-point Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. Under the Compact, mayors commit to vigorously speak out against all acts of hate; punish bias-motivated violence to the fullest extent of the law; encourage more anti-bias and anti-hate education in schools and police forces, using ADL experts and resources for both; encourage community activities that celebrate their population’s cultural and ethnic diversity; and ensure civil rights laws are aggressively enforced and hate crimes laws are as strong as possible.
“Terrorism by white supremacists, like what took place in Charlottesville, is a clear and present danger to America’s cities,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Mayors are eager to join with the Anti-Defamation League to fight hate, and I’m honored that Mayor Landrieu asked me to help lead a coordinated campaign across this country to promote the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. Only the Statute of Liberty should be carrying a torch these days, and her message of respect must echo in America’s cities where this battle is being fought.”
“Charlottesville made clear that we have a lot more work to do in our communities and we can’t wait a minute longer to step up our efforts,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors deserves credit for their leadership. Mayors have always been strong supporters of civil rights and counterweights to those who discriminate. ADL could not have found a better partner to work with against hate.”
“What happened in Charlottesville last weekend reminds us all that violent hate and racism are very much alive in America in 2017,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayor. “For decades, America’s mayors have taken a strong position in support of civil rights and in opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds. At this critical time mayors are doing so again through this compact in an effort to combat hate, extremism and bigotry in their cities and in our nation. The Compact released today builds off our Leadership for America: Mayors’ Agenda for the Future, adopted by The United States Conference of Mayors and released by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, President of The United States Conference of Mayors at our June 85th Annual Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach.”
"As mayors, we are the voice of our cities. It's important for us to have a united voice in denouncing the hate that has been plaguing our nation,” said Columbia Mayor and USCM Vice President Steve Benjamin. “We often forget that our country, the UNITED States of America, is a nation of immigrants past and present. Our founding fathers created America based off of an ideal – that one nation, under God, would be indivisible with liberty and justice for all. An America that is the greatest democratic nation in the history of the world. We MUST remember that in this America, there is no room for hate. There is no room for injustice. There is no room for fear induced by divisiveness."
“As leaders, we must stand up to hate and bigotry – and we must speak loudly and with conviction. In Louisville, we lean into honest conversations about race and, as a compassionate city, we have no room for hate or extremism”, said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“When white supremacists, bigots, and hateful extremists march in our streets with torches and swastikas, inflicting violence and spewing ignorant rhetoric, our core national values are under attack,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “America’s Mayors know first-hand how important it is for all of our neighbors to be included in our communities, and we stand together in our outrage over the recent events in Charlottesville, and anywhere this type of behavior occurs.”
“Even as we uphold and ensure free speech in our cities, as mayors we can never let hate go unchecked,” says Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “We must call out racial extremism for what is — provocation to divide and incite. Like cities across the nation, Anaheim draws strength in diversity and a culture of kindness. We are with all who peacefully stand against hate and intolerance.”
“The recent violent acts in Charlottesville create a strong awareness that while we have made great strides to combat bigotry and hatred, we must note these topics as priority on our agendas,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “We must remain vigilant in our own neighborhoods and cities to ensure these acts receive no air time, both figuratively and literally. Our job is not only to condemn those sentiments that fly in the face of our democracy, it is to promote tolerance and love of all people and freedom and justice for all.”
The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,408 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all. Follow us on Twitter @ADL_National and visit us at adl.org.