Rep. John Lewis on the Hate Crimes Committed in Pittsburgh and Kentucky
“It is unimaginable that we find ourselves in the same place again as a nation—mourning the senseless loss of innocent life to violence and hate. My heart goes out to the families of the victims in Kentucky and Pittsburgh, to the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue and employees of the Kroger grocery store, to their friends and family who live here in the Atlanta region, to the entire Jewish and African American communities, and to all Americans feeling despair in this time.
“Violence is never a viable way to resolve human differences because we can never hurt others without destroying ourselves. We must rid our minds and our national dialogue of speech and actions that openly or covertly contribute to tribalism, separatism, and supremacy. And we must reject any leader like a cancer who spreads the poisons of hatred and fear. There is not any room in a democracy for violent political speech.
“If our leaders will not act to protect us, we can protect ourselves by overcoming hate with the power of unity and love. We must combat these evils, not by hiding in our homes, but by drawing closer together as a people. We must begin to discover the same human qualities we see in those we love are all around us in the hearts of many we have never met.
“We must not only say, but we must demonstrate that it is better to build than to tear down. It is better to heal than to divide. It is better to love than to hate. We must do more than say it. It is time for us to do it. We are the ones we have been waiting for.”