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Hogan must condemn hate and discrimination

Op-ed: Md. Gov. Larry Hogan must publicly condemn hate and discrimination.

Gov. Larry Hogan has received hundreds of calls in the past week asking him to take a stand against the increase in hateful speech and actions since the election. When I spoke with his staff several days ago, they read me a short statement indicating that violence will not be tolerated and suggested that the statement soon would be forthcoming publicly. When no public statement was made a day later, I called back to inquire and was told that Governor Hogan was aware of the increase in hateful speech and action in the past week but does not currently have plans to come out with a public statement against it — they are just reading the statement I heard to callers. This is not acceptable.

There are children in Maryland who are now living in fear due to circumstances around which they have no control — the color of their skin, their accent, their religion, their disability, and so on. Friends of mine have been called the N-word for the first time in the diverse and inclusive community of Columbia. Other friends are afraid to wear any public indication of their religion due to harassment. Governor Hogan has proven to be a successful, moderate governor for the state of Maryland. Now more than ever we need his thoughtful, courageous leadership.

This is the statement I wish he would make:

"The state of Maryland may be small in size, but it is one of the great states of our great nation. It is one of the original 13 colonies and the birthplace of The Star Spangled Banner. We enjoy all four seasons and beautiful ecological diversity, from mountains to farmland, cities, beaches and the treasure that is the Chesapeake Bay. We bridge the North and the South and border the nation's capital. We are more than 6 million people strong and growing every year. We are almost equally represented by people under 18 and over 65 years old, and we benefit from the energy and idealism of youth and the wisdom and experience of age. Women and their tremendous societal contributions comprise 52 percent of our population. Our citizens are diverse; we are 30 percent African American, 10 percent Latino, and 7 percent Asian. Foreign born persons comprise 14 percent of our population, and we have over 400,000 veterans among us — we recognize and appreciate the contributions of both of these groups. This is who we are as a state. Personally, I am proud to be the father to three wonderful women and the husband to a first generation Korean-American, the first Korean-American First Lady in the history of the United States.

"The government and people of Maryland will not condone acts of discrimination or hate to any person or group of peoples based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability or national origin. In the past week there has been evidence of increased hate crimes across this state and the country. This aggression will not stand. We respect all people in the state of Maryland. Acts of hate and violence will be pursued to the full extent of the law. I call on all people, organizations and local governments to stand together against discrimination and hate and to work together toward building respect and equity for one another in all of our diversity. Maryland will grow and prosper by protecting the rights of all of our citizens. Let us pledge allegiance to being indivisible in the pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

"In my role as a national leader, I call on the incoming government to forcefully denounce the hateful and intimidating language and actions that have been encouraged by a campaign that fed on fear and discrimination. The appointment of Steve Bannon, a known leader in the white supremacy movement, as a chief strategist to the president must be rescinded at once in order for President-elect Trump to keep his promise of serving all of the people in our great country. I did not endorse or vote for Mr. Trump in the election. I beseech him to step into his service as president of the United States with tremendous regard for the heavy responsibility of the role and to surround himself with moderate experts who will help him to safeguard the fundamental values of the United States — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, common good, justice, equality, diversity, truth, popular sovereignty and patriotism — and our constitutional principles: rule of law, separation of powers, representative government, checks and balances, federalism, individual rights and freedom of religion."

This is a message we all need — and deserve — to hear.

Chiara D'Amore is an educator and the founder and president of The Community Ecology Institute; her email is cdamore@communityecologyinstitute.org.

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