Merck Foundation and African First Ladies marking World Cancer Day 2023 through 110 scholarships of Oncology Fellowships in 25 countriesRead more Supporting women leaders and aspirants to unleash their potentialRead more Fake medicines kill almost 500,000 sub-Saharan Africans a year: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reportRead more Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more 11 Disruptive Startups Selected for Cohort 3 of the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) Accelerator Program powered by Startupbootcamp AfricaRead more Africa Data Centres breaks ground on new Sameer facility in NairobiRead more Coffee with a human face: A union that improves livelihoods for Ugandan farmersRead more Trends Predicted to drive the retail industry in 2023Read more Vantage Capital exits Pétro IvoireRead more

Biden appeals for unity in anti-extremism ‘summit’

show caption
US President Joe Biden appeals for unity in the face of rising extremism and hate crimes./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Sep 16, 2022 - 09:23 AM

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden appealed Thursday for a united front against hate-crimes and political violence in a speech building on his bid to present himself as champion of moderate values at a time of rising extremism.

“We have to face the good, the bad and the truth. That’s what great nations do and we’re a great nation,” Biden told a packed hall at the White House’s United We Stand Summit. “You must choose to be a nation of hope, unity and optimism — or a nation of fear and division and hate.”

Biden recounted, as often before, how he took the decision to challenge then president Donald Trump in the 2020 election after the Republican initially declined to condemn a 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Charlottesville changed everything, because I believe our story is to unite as people in one nation, in one America.”

But he said that a spate of racist violence — including a deadly attack on a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, a mass shooting targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, and another gun massacre, this time targeting African Americans, in Buffalo, New York, in May — had left the country reeling.

“Many of you have lost part of your heart and soul,” he told the audience, which included a cross-section of civil rights activists, religious leaders, academics and elected officials.

The White House described the day-long conference, with Biden giving the keynote speech, as a chance to highlight “the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety.”

The summit comes just eight weeks ahead of midterm elections in which Republicans are seeking to take control of Congress.

It also comes two weeks after Biden delivered a fiery speech denouncing the “extreme ideology” of Trump, whose supporters overran the Capitol to try to overturn the 2020 election and who continues to promote far-right conspiracy theories.

A White House official told reporters that Thursday’s event, which featured a panel with both Republican and Democratic mayors, was not political and would “demonstrate that we can unite across partisan lines.”

However, Republicans have painted Biden as a divider for calling out Trump supporters, noting that the former president remains hugely popular with the party’s voters.

Biden defended himself in his White House speech, saying he was right to speak up.

“There are those who say that when we bring this up we divide the country,” he said. But “silence is complicity.”

Among some of the practical measures discussed at the conference was Biden’s suggestion that Congress should “get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much strong transparency requirements on all of them” regarding extremist content.

The provision known as Section 230 shields platforms from liability for content and has long been targeted by some in Congress.

  • bio
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • latest posts

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.