State Senator Chris Larson and Representative Jonathan Brostoff held a press conference at the Milwaukee City Hall on January 31 to announce the Joint Resolution to Resist Hate (LRB 0234).
Along with an online petition in support of it at ResistHateWI.com, the resolution denounces Islamophobia and hate in Wisconsin. According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, there are more than 3 million Muslims living in the United States today, with an estimated 15,000 living in Wisconsin, making invaluable contributions to the economy, social and political life, and local culture.
Despite the beneficial contributions the Muslim community has provided the both Wisconsin and America, there has been an increase in racism and hate speech towards these communities. Between the years of 2014 and 2015 alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 67% jump in reports of assaults and attacks towards Muslims.
The Joint Resolution to Resist Hate would affirm the commitment of the Legislature to:
- Condemn Islamophobia and all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants, and people of color.
- Categorically reject political tactics that use fear to manipulate voters to gain power or influence.
- Pursue a policy agenda that affirms civil and human rights, and ensures that those targeted on the basis of race, religion, or immigration status can turn to their government without fear of recrimination.
- Reaffirm the value of a pluralistic society, the beauty of culture composed of multiple cultures, and the inalienable right of every person to live and practice their faith without fear.
The following legislators have already indicated their interest in signing onto the Joint Resolution:
Senator Carpenter, Senator Vinehout, Senator Johnson, Senator Taylor, Representative Sinicki, Representative Sargent, Representative Bowen, Representative Crowley, Representative Spreitzer, Representative Taylor, Representative Berceau, Representative Pope, Representative Wachs, Representative Hebl, Representative. Milroy, Representative Goyke, Representative Ohnstad, Representative Kessler, Representative Zepnick
“I was just at Ronald Reagan High School talking to a classroom down there. They were certainly interested in this issue, of what is happening in right now. And my word for them was that this is a very serious time. It’s important for them to take their role as citizens very seriously. I know that this is a challenging time. But it’s a time when we must remain peaceful, and just do everything we can to make sure that those ideals that founded this country remain in place. Our president is challenging us and we must respond. But we must respond and make sure the people understand that the America we love is an America that’s understanding of all people of all religions, of all backgrounds. If there are criminal issues, we’re going to deal with those criminal issues. But we don’t want to criminalize people’s backgrounds and we don’t want to treat people unfairly. Please remain active citizens in our community.” – Mayor Tom Barrett