Raskin, Norton urge nonviolence and understanding at teach-in

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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) urged several hundred attendees of a teach-in held at Washington Hebrew Congregation on Friday to act nonviolently when responding to Sunday’s Unite the Right protests. The protest, planned near the White House, is expected to involve white nationalists and other hate groups similar to the ones who marched in last year’s demonstrations in Charlottesville.

“They march under the protection of the first amendment, but they would gladly burn the Constitution to the ground,” said Raskin, referring to the hate groups.


Raskin and Norton said it is important to understand that the first amendment protects hate speech that is peaceful, but emphasized that community members should still take action.

“There’s no such thing as a first amendment that favors our side over their’s,” Norton said. “Well, there are a growing number of haters. Does that mean there’s nothing we can do about this?”

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Here is what other panelists at the teach in said:

Leonard Zeskind-human rights activist


“Standing in the street and screaming at the white nationalists is not the right thing to do.”

Randy Blazak-sociology professor at Portland State University

“I want people to stop saying, ‘I’m not a racist, I voted for Obama. I’m not a racist, because I listen to Beyonce.’”

Lecia Brooks-Southern Poverty Law Center outreach director

“You need to be prepared for the emboldenment of bias and bigoted behavior… It might be in your family. It might be in your workplace. I need you to act when that happens.”

Monica Hopkins-Executive Director of the ACLU of DC

“We have to, as white people, use our privilege to create spaces so that these voices can be heard within the context of the first amendment.”

Wes Bellamy-Vice Mayor of Charlottesville

“It’s like when you have a cut. A deep cut. And you put a band aid on it. What happened in Charlottesville is that we ripped a scab off. Until we’re commiting to doing the surgery work, we’re not going to get better.”

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