Over the course of the last few weeks our country has witnessed horrific acts of hatred and numerous incidents of discrimination and racism. Images of white supremacists marching through a small picturesque American city spewing racist and anti-Semitic messages were splashed across media outlets for days. It is time we unite as a country and stand in solidarity against these ugly and needless displays of hatred.
Our communities, state and nation cannot, and will not, be destroyed by hate.
I commend those in our local communities who recently held vigils denouncing violence, bigotry and racism and making it known that Nassau County has no tolerance for this behavior. We need to unite and continue to push for an end to all forms of discrimination, including right here on Long Island.
Earlier this year there were an alarming number of threats and hate crimes targeting people of the Jewish faith, including bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in our region. Just last week, legislation I supported, increasing the penalty for making bomb threats against community centers, was signed into state law.
Hatred is a learned behavior, one that can be changed. Only by communities coming together and honoring our differences, can we become stronger. In order to recognize the true and diverse spectrum of our background, I introduced legislation earlier this year ensuring New York’s students are learning of the horrors of the Holocaust.
Society has an obligation to remember one of the worst atrocities in human history, continue to condemn it and prevent it from happening again.
Teaching the next generation about the Holocaust in a responsible, heartfelt manner is paramount. Only by recognizing and understanding the failures of the past, can we change the world for the better.
New York State has served as the gateway to freedom for millions seeking a better life, only by celebrating our diversity can we continue to be a beacon of acceptance for our nation and world.
At this crucial time, we must commit ourselves to safeguarding our democracy and diversity. We must stand united and eliminate hate from our communities, state and nation.
Senator Elaine R. Phillips