Like many of you, I was highly disturbed by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend and President Trump’s comments regarding the matter.

President Trump’s remarks yesterday were a failure of moral leadership. Let’s be clear: there can be no moral equivalence between white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and those who stand up to bigotry. There can be no “fine people” who march with those chanting racist words. More than ever, for our neighborhoods, communities, and schools we need a message of calm, healing and affirmation of our nation’s highest ideals.

Here in Hoboken, I am proud to say that we as a community have come together in standing up against hate and violence. In the aftermath of the Presidential election in 2016, the Hoboken City Council stood up and spoke out against hundreds of hate incidents against Jews, women, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and immigrants.

We as a community, along with our elected officials at every level of government, have a sworn duty to protect and defend the rights guaranteed to all Americans by our state and federal constitution. As your Mayor, I pledge to you that I will not remain silent when our rights as Americans are under assault.

I leave you with the words of Nelson Mandela, aptly provided in a recent message from President Obama:

“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, “Long Walk to Freedom”, 1994

Sincerely,

Ravi Bhalla