The events that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend were, first and foremost, reprehensible, evil, and horrifying.
Hate cannot and will not be tolerated by the American people.
Our society is built on the very differences that cowards and bigots seek to exploit, magnify, and demonize. The American people and the people of Connecticut have always striven to remain united, even as intolerance and radicalism pull us apart.
Now is the time to come together to mourn the life lost and to grow stronger together from it. Now is the time for those who represent the American people to be unwavering in our condemnation of violence, extremism, and bigotry.
As state senator for the 28th district of Connecticut, I condemn the hate-based violence in Virginia, and around the country; and I denounce any legitimacy or recognition of white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, and any people or group who promote violence, terror and hate.
Recently, in a strong bipartisan stance against hate crimes, Connecticut acted in solidarity with the Anti-Defamation League to pass House Bill 5743 into law. I am incredibly proud that we in the General Assembly stood up to craft the toughest hate crime legislation in the country.
This bill was drafted in an attempt to decrease the incidence of hate crimes in our state by establishing harsher penalties for such acts and expanding the definition to cover as many “types” of hate-crime as possible, although truly there is only one. All hate crimes in the state of Connecticut are now felonies.
The cooperation on this bill means that when the specter of hate rears its ugly head, all of us, regardless of party affiliation, will rise up against it. Intolerance and actions of hate can never be ignored.
This bill’s unanimous passage reflects the commitment and resolve of Connecticut residents to loudly say that hate is never acceptable under any circumstance. When someone becomes the target of a crime because of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability, the very fabric and soul of our community is torn.
Tragic events like those in Charlottesville often ignite tense and emotional political debates which are counterproductive and only serve to drive us further apart. Instead, I encourage everyone to understand that the threat of violence and intolerance is not a partisan issue and should not be discussed in a political context.
This is about our fundamental shared values as Americans — that all people are created equal and all people deserve respect.