It Is Time to Stand Together in Unity

March on Washington Anniversary Rally, Monday August 28th, 6 to 8pm, Annapolis

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“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
-Nelson Mandela

The world is full of so many wonderful kinds of people.  Some are gay and some are straight.  Some are cisgender and some are transgender.  Some are monogamous and some are polyamorous.  Some believe in God and some don’t.  Some are black and some are white.  Some were born in this country and some were not.

I could go on, but for me, all our differences boil down to one: some people embrace people who are different, and some people hate people who are different.

We have seen time after time the devastating consequences of hate, and yet we seem to forget, repeating the same mistakes time after time.  Once again, we saw in Charlottesville what happens when some people hate.  Moreover, we saw the moral bankruptcy of our president, a man who does not grasp the difference between Nazis and people who fight against Nazism.

What happened in Charlottesville could just as easily have happened here in Anne Arundel County.  We are not immune to hateful thinking:

  • County Councilman Michael Peroutka steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that he has ever harbored a racist thought even though he was a long-term member of the League of the South, a white supremacist organization that participated in the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. On the other hand, Peroutka is quite frank in his hatred towards the LGBTQ community.
  • David Whitney was the Chaplain of the Maryland Chapter of the League of the South (I could not confirm whether he still is the Chaplain as the Chapter recently took down its website). He is also the Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Pasadena, Maryland.  Peroutka is a member of that church.  Following the Manchester terrorist attack during an Ariana Grande concert, Whitney questioned which was worse: the act of terrorism or Grande’s promotion of Satanism and sodomy (Grande’s brother is gay, and she follows the Jewish tradition of Kabbalah).   In addition, Whitney has regularly attacked Muslims in his writings.
  • County Councilman Chairman John Grasso made an anti-Muslim post on his Facebook page. Discussing African Americans’ centuries-long fight for justice in a recent radio interview, Grasso said, “As an Italian-American, we went through the same thing.”
  • County Executive Steve Schuh signed a 287(g) agreement with the federal government that will screen inmates for immigration violations and then deport them, regardless of their innocence or severity of their crime. Schuh, on the other hand, does not seem concerned with targeting the individuals and businesses who exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them below minimum wages and offering them no standard worker protections.

The time has come for people in this county to speak out against the hate coming from the White House and from our own community.  Charlottesville has made the stakes clear: we can no longer sit on the sidelines, hoping things will get better.

I urge everyone to stand with their neighbors at the March on Washington Anniversary Rally, Monday August 28th from 6 to 8pm in Annapolis.  The rally commemorates the 54th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.  Let us show the people of this county, this state, and this country that we can stand together, embrace and love each other for our many wonderful differences, and demand justice for all.  More than ever, the people of this county need to show we have not and will not give up on Martin Luther King’s dream.  We can show all the haters that love is a better path.

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Eric Graber is a semi-retired marketing communications professional who has reluctantly been drawn into the resistance movement. He dedicates as much time as possible to painting, exploring various movements in modern art.