Statement by Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways California, Denouncing Epidemic of Hatred and Gun Violence
Our hearts break for the victims of the horrific shootings in Gilroy CA, El Paso TX, and Dayton OH, and for everyone touched by these tragedies. We stand United with these communities and our colleagues at United Way Bay Area, United Way of El Paso County, and United Way of Greater Dayton.
Unfortunately, we have seen far too many communities across the US ravaged by mass shootings, lives taken in mere seconds, and countless others forever changed by the trauma of our country’s gun violence epidemic.
We must commit to is addressing gun violence in unequivocal terms as the public health crisis it clearly is and begin to speak plainly about what enables this epidemic. It is well past time that we collectively put a concerted emphasis on gun violence research to inform public health strategies to remove the vectors that give rise to it, and to develop a comprehensive response as a nation to this epidemic ravaging our communities.
The perpetrators of at least two of these heinous acts were indoctrinated in a dangerous and deadly ideology of white nationalism allowed to fester online, in divisive public rhetoric, and now increasingly spilling into our streets, our churches, our schools — places we gather together in community. That hatred is not mental illness, and it must be squarely faced and rejected by all Americans.
United Ways around the world work to strengthen families and communities. United Ways of California condemns hate groups and the violence that they engender. We will continue to work in partnership with those that seek to strengthen our communities, celebrate our diversity, and Live United in our never ending quest to build a more perfect union.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2019