What happened in Charlottesville could happen to any city. In fact it does. Domestic terrorism has killed more Americans since 9/11 than Al Qaeda & ISIS combined.
Austin has a long history of dealing with racism. We were officially segregated in 1928, and an interstate highway was later build on that dividing line. That segregation has led to inequitable outcomes in education, health, and prosperity and led to incidents of police violence.
Even if we mean well – and we do — mayors face the effects of institutional racism every day. We know that the problems might be complicate, but the evidence of racism is clear. Mayors live this problem. This isn’t politics for us. This is what we work on every day.
Mayors are well-situated to lead on this issue. We can tell the good guys from the bad guys. Only two sides to racism: right side of history and the wrong side of history. Only way to find a solution is to face the problem, and the only one who should be carrying a torch is the Statue of Liberty.
Excited to announce Mayors Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism, and Bigotry. The Mayors’ Compact has 10 components: Expressly Rejecting extremism, white supremacy, and all forms of bigotry; Denouncing all acts of hate wherever they occur; Ensuring public safety while protecting free speech and other basic constitutional rights; Calling for fully-resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes; Elevating and prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our nation’s schools; Supporting targeted communities and bringing together civic and community leaders to build trust; Celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity, and challenging bias, promoting law enforcement training on responding to and reporting hate incidents, hate crimes and domestic terrorism; Encouraging residents in their communities to report hate incidents and crimes, including using hot lines and online tools; Maintaining civil rights enforcement and strengthening hate crime laws when necessary.
This is important work to me for personal reasons. I volunteered with the ADL here in Austin and have already been attacked by the Daily Stormer for inviting trans troops to join the Austin police force. Mayors don’t need a TelePrompTer to say Nazis are bad.
I’m looking forward to working with ADL on this effort and helping my fellow mayors create a more perfect union.