Mayors Take Strong Pledge Against Extremism, Bigotry

Working with the Anti-Defamation League, more than 270 mayors nationwide, including many members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, have signed a written pledge agreeing to stand up to hate in their communities.

The recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month—and the ensuing outcry, seen in cities around the country since then—made it clear that city governments will be on the front lines when hate groups step into the public square. And hundreds of the country’s mayors are speaking up about that in a big way.

We will continue to build stronger cultures of kindness in our communities.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released “The Mayors’ Compact,” a joint statement in which the mayors pledge that they will strongly oppose any form of bigotry, hate, or extremism emerging in their cities.

“Dark forces of extremism and violent bigotry are rearing their ugly heads. We are now seeing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement,” the compact states. “We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric, and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews, and other minorities. We will not permit them to succeed.”

The initiative, produced with the help of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), includes 10 actions the mayors committed to take, including rejecting extremism, denouncing acts of hate, ensuring public safety, protecting free speech, and working with civic leaders to build trust among diverse communities.

Mayors from more than 270 cities—including major urban centers like New Orleans and Los Angeles and smaller towns like Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and Dubuque, Iowa—signed the compact.

In an op-ed for CityLab, ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt credited the mayors for taking a strong collective stance.

“Mayors and their cities will be a beacon for inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all,” Greenblatt wrote. “We will continue to build stronger cultures of kindness in our communities, and ensure those responsible for extremist and bias-motivated criminal conduct are brought to justice. Together, we will find a path forward and restore our great nation.”

(Henrik5000/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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