Over the past several days, terrorists in Charlottesville and Barcelona used vehicles to commit murder in the name of their extremist views. As Americans and global citizens, our hearts go out to all those directly affected by the terrorists’ acts. In Charlottesville, one of our legal community’s own, paralegal Heather Heyer, was murdered. Why? Because she was courageous enough to take a stand against racism and bigotry. The racist views of the white supremacists responsible for Ms. Heyer’s death are reprehensible and should be condemned by all in the strongest possible terms. Her loss, as well as the loss of other victims who were struck down because of those who hate, reminds us there is much work to do.
In the words of former South African president Nelson Mandela, “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.”
At PLC, we will teach love through each veteran we help avoid homelessness, we will teach love by protecting domestic violence survivors from their abusers, we will teach love by guiding families with children through the tragedies of terminal illnesses and potential deportations, and we will teach love by assisting young families and the elderly keep their homes.
We are heartened by the statements against racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry shared by our partners in the community, our alma maters and academic collaborators, and our supporters throughout the legal community. They are reminders that there is more that unites us than divides us and that what unites us more than anything else is love.
As we prepare for a weekend filled with first homework assignments, last camping trips, or simply catching up at the end of the summer, we must stay vigilant in the stand against the hate, extremism, and bigotry that threatens justice. A planned “alt-right” rally in Laguna Beach this Sunday reminds us all that Orange County is not immune from the extremist views that have shocked the nation this past week.
At PLC, we will always fight against injustice and embrace the diverse populations we serve and whom serve alongside us. Here at PLC, we will always choose the path of love and justice. We thank you for being on this journey with us.