FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Hate Will Not Win
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
No one is safe until all of us are safe.
We stand with, and continue to pray for, actor Jussie Smollett after he was attacked on Tuesday morning. We also pray for all the unnamed victims of hate, prejudice, homophobia and violence. Gay or straight, red, brown, yellow, black or white, we are all precious in God’s sight.
The attack on Smollett, that is now being investigated as a possible hate crime, has captured much media attention. But the violence perpetrated against the “Empire” star is far from an isolated incident. FBI hate crime statistics released last year showed a shocking 17 percent increase from the previous year. Hatred against another simply because of who they are is like acid rain. It falls from the top down and pollutes the environment.
There is an ongoing, growing and toxic environment of hate and violence sweeping across the nation, including the tragic death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, the massacre of nine black worshipers at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, the slaughter of 11 congregants at the Tree of Life Jewish temple in Pittsburgh, and now on the frigid Chicago streets outside a Streeterville sandwich shop. This is where Smollett was reportedly beaten, bombarded with racial and homophobic slurs, and found with a rope wrapped around his neck.
We are thankfully relieved that Smollett survived this attempted modern-day lynching.
America is a nation with a mighty mixture of races, diverse religions, and a tapestry of varied ethnicities and sexual orientations. America has become a big tent over the course of her history. However, the forces of hatred, intimidation and violence are trying to turn back the clock of the nation’s progress. But these forces cannot stop time. We have come too far to be pushed back into hiding because of fear.
We, as a nation, must continue forward inspired by hope, rather than retreat defeated by fear. We must affirm the common humanity of all people and embrace the differences that have made America what she has become. We must continue to build bridges of healing and hope, not walls of hate and hurt.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
And so, we love. We love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We affirm the best of who we are through linking arms, not throwing violent blows or hurling indignant insults. We do not forget how far we have come as a nation, yet we dare not stop fighting for justice until all of God’s children are safe and free to be all that God has created them to be, and we can never forget to keep loving so that hate never wins.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.