UNA-USA Stands With Communities in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH
Once again we awoke this morning to news of tragedies beyond belief, and are a nation in mourning. This time there were mass shootings and murders in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, the 22nd mass killing in the U.S.A. in 2019. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of our members, their families and friends affected, and all the great people of these cities and states. Our hearts and prayers also go out to our nation, for “what affects one directly affects all of us indirectly.”
As the United Nations Association of the USA, we advocate for peace and justice throughout the world. Now, more than ever, we cannot forget nor ignore the truth that we must be as vigilant in our own country. Eleanor Roosevelt, our founder, stated that “human rights begin close to home.” While in the past, our nation witnessed murders of African-Americans and other ethnic groups by such white supremacists groups as the Klu Klux Klan, there was a denial (in the public discourse) of labeling these acts as “terrrorism.” However, those comunities affected continued to speak truth.
Today, there can be no denial. We are in a “state of hate”, as Fareed Zakaria of CNN terms it. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism has reported, “We’re seeing a coalescence of traditional hate crime with political violence.” We must speak truth to power, that white supremacy, xenophobia, hate crimes, terrorism are cancers in our society. History throughout the world has shown us, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) , that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind…” That is why we must raise our voices and our votes. We must condemn immoral actions, counter racist rhetoric, coalesce for community power.
As we mourn, as we prepare for burials, we must also stand strong and recommitted to the values of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the “inherent dignity and … equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”
Hon. Teta V. Banks
Chair, National Council
United Nations Association of the United States of America