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WASHINGTON – In response to President Biden announcing that the White House will host a summit next month to identify solutions to hate-fueled violence, Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has released the following statement:

“White supremacy is the greatest threat to the well-being of our nation. In order to dismantle it, we need a bold, coordinated response. President Biden’s ‘United We Stand’ summit is a critical first step towards a Marshall Plan-style approach to galvanize the type of federal resources and civil society initiatives for which I and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have been advocating.

This plan must be proactive rather than reactive, and demands more than a focus on law enforcement-focused responses. It demands a whole-of-government approach that takes a clear-eyed stance against the agents of hate and the violent ideology that motivates them. It also demands a whole-of-society approach that enables local advocates and national organizations alike to combat weaponized hate at its roots. Through our James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, my organization has witnessed firsthand how racist hate sparks fear and harms Black communities and other marginalized groups. Whether it’s mass shootings in grocery stores or places of worship, vandalism of Black churches, targeting Black leaders, or the attack on the Capitol based on the Big Lie of voter fraud in cities with large Black populations–we are constantly witnessing how anti-Black, white supremacist ideology manifests into unthinkable violence and suffering.

A country cannot function if its citizens are in constant risk of being targeted and killed while they go about the activities of everyday life. This is a chance for our government to prove that it believes Black lives are worth protecting. Every component of government and every corner of civil society must refocus on what can be done to remedy this threat to life, liberty, and our democracy.”