SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Senator Foung Hawj, DFL-Saint Paul, released the following statement today to reiterate the position of the People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus in response to President Trump’s support of the white supremacists in Charlottesville:
“As a refugee who came to this country from Laos forty years ago, to escape government persecution and ethnic cleansing, I have encountered racism, hate and have seen the face of evil in many forms during some very dark interactions with haters. I remain a very proud and hopeful American of Hmong heritage despite growing up in poverty burdened further with the weight of discrimination, because this country assures everyone equality, justice, and freedom. This is the hope I have for our state and nation,” said Hawj.
“I have looked up to many leaders as guiding examples of good moral authority, measured and diplomatic responses while working for peace at home and abroad. I am very disappointed and saddened to hear the comments made by the President, a leader of the free world, reacting to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, which encouraged hate and violence. There can be no place for discrimination and racism in our society. This is not a debatable issue. As the Senate Chair of the People of Color & Indigenous Caucus, I reiterate the joint statement with my colleague released early this week.”
The original joint statement from the POCI Caucus is as follows:
Minnesota Lawmakers Joint Statement on Charlottesville
Saint Paul, MINN. – Today, the People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and Jewish lawmakers released the following joint statement regarding the violence in Charlottesville:
“We are heartbroken by the domestic terrorism in Charlottesville. We mourn for Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper-Pilot Burke Bates and all those affected by the domestic terrorists in Charlottesville.
“The United States’ stance on Nazis was determined when millions of American men and women joined the world to defeat the Nazis in the Second World War. While we are not blind to the racism and antisemitism that persists in our society today, as legislators, we are also not blind to the amazing justice work being done by Jewish and POCI communities with their allies. As we saw in Charlottesville, the recent emboldening of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK is dangerous and resulted in numerous injuries and the loss of three lives.
“Yet we are mindful that the hateful ideology so boldly displayed in Charlottesville also lives here in Minnesota. With the shooting of five protestors by white supremacists near the 4th precinct, the assault of a Cottage Grove woman for not speaking English, racist graffiti on a black family’s home in Delano, death threats to Jewish Community Centers, vandalization at the Islamic Cemetery in Castle Rock, racial epithets and calls to ‘Hail the KKK’ scrawled on the walls of a Lakeville high school, and the bombing of a Bloomington mosque, we’ve seen too often the hate that lives in our communities. There are countless acts of bigotry occurring every day that don’t make the news and we never hear about.
“There are moments in every generation where we are called to defend democracy; to reaffirm our commitment to progress. A moment where we know we must put more time and more attention into the quest for that more perfect union. We stand united on the only acceptable side of this issue: complete opposition to Nazis, the KKK and those who defend their ideology.”