It has now been six days since violence following a white supremacist rally took the life of a counter-protester in her thirties. A neo-Nazi used his car to end her life and injure more than a dozen others.
Our 45th president took over 48 hours to respond to this situation, renouncing this act of violence and hate. In the days that followed, he back pedaled, with imagined claims of violence on “both sides.” A position so unthinkable, even his fellow Republicans have rebuked this refusal to speak out against racism and hate.
On Monday and Wednesday of this week, I joined hundreds of community members standing in solidarity with people of color and the community of Charlottesville, rejecting hatred, violence, and the platform of the alt-right. From all across Erie, we stood together to demand our nation do better.
While many local leaders were present, one particular politician remained absent. My opponent--Stefan Mychajliw--has refused to address the issue in any way.
I wish I could say this surprised me. As a vocal supporter of Trump and his local base, including Chris Collins and Michael Caputo, he has every reason to stay silent. His base has played into the fear and violence associated with white supremacist groups, using them to maintain power.
While the people of Erie County demand that our elected officials denounce violent hate groups, he remains silent. In that silence, he is implicated.
Stefan, the people of Erie County have watched thoughtfully as you chose to stand on the wrong side of history. In aligning with the alt-right and the hate it espouses, you have rejected the wishes of the one million people that you represent. In November, I believe they will seek someone who believes in an America built on equality, diversity, and community. I’ll be there to answer the call.