Conflicts & War

Biden calls for unity to confront white supremacists

By Beatriz Pascual Mac¡as

Washington, Sep 15 (EFE).- President Joe Biden appealed Thursday for a unity in the face of violent white nationalism in the United States.

“In America, evil will not win. It will not prevail,” he said in the East Room of the White House during the United We Stand Summit, a gathering of survivors of hate-driven violence, elected officials, activists and executives from tech companies.

“And white supremacists will not have the last word, and this venom and violence cannot be the story of our time. So we convened this summit to make clear what the story of our time must be,” Biden said.

“It has to be a story in which each and every one of us has a vital role to play, a story with this message from the White House: United, united, united we stand,” the president said.

“All forms of hate fueled by violence have no place in America,” he said, adding that silence in the face of such violence is “complicity.”

Noting criticism of the warning he offered several weeks ago about the threat to democracy from hard-line Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump, Biden said: “Unless we speak out it’s going to continue.”

“We cannot be intimidated by those who are talking about this as some a bunch of wacko liberals who are engaged in this,” he said.

The US is at crossroads, Biden said, where it “must choose to be a nation of hope, unity and optimism – or a nation of fear and division and hate.”

He recalled that his decision to run for president in 2020 was spurred by the August 2017 white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“When those folks came out of that field carrying torches – in the United States of America, carrying torches, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in Germany in the early ’30s, accompanied by white supremacists holding Nazi flags. And I thought to myself: My God, this is the United States of America. How could it happen?,” Biden said.

The president was introduced at Thursday’s event by Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed while taking part in a counter-protest at the white nationalist rally.

Bro said that her daughter’s death on Aug. 12, 2017, made her a member of a “club” that nobody wants to join.

The neo-Nazi who used his car to run over Heyer, James Alex Fields Jr., was sentenced to life in prison for vehicular homicide.

“Her murder resonated around the world. But the hate did not begin nor end there,” Bro said. “While my daughter’s death received so much national and international attention, all too often these hateful attacks are committed against people of color with unacceptably little public attention.”

Biden, who complained that extremists have been getting “too much oxygen” in the public sphere, urged Congress to “get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements on all of them.” EFE bpm/dr

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