The following is a letter from Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer and Mayor Pro Tempore Gleam Davis.

To the residents of Santa Monica,

We share the nation’s heartache following the events in Charlottesville. It’s painful to see blatant hate played out in such a menacing way. We stand in solidarity with Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer in his courageous battle against the forces of white supremacy and ethnic and religious bigotry. We share our condolences with the family of Heather Heyer and those injured. We mourn the death of the two Virginia State Troopers who died doing their duty, protecting the rights and safety of all.

There is always room in cities like Charlottesville and Santa Monica for dissent, no matter how uncomfortable or outside the mainstream. But we saw in Charlottesville forces bent on more than expressing their opinions. We join Mayor Signer and mayors across the country in condemning intimidation, violence and terrorism. Similar incidents of intolerance and intimidation have recently happened in our own community. We will always respect the rights of free speech, but we will not tolerate coercion or violence.

We speak for our colleagues on the City Council, our City staff and the vast majority in our community to reaffirm that Santa Monica fervently supports the equitable treatment of all people—regardless of race, cultural background, age, citizenship, gender or sexual orientation.

Next Sponsor

We also understand that honoring our differences is vital to ensuring city services are responsive and effective. The City of Santa Monica is part of a network of public agencies called the Government Alliance on Race & Equity working to address racial equity and its implications for public policy and service delivery. We look forward to sharing more of this work, including how everyone in our community can get involved.

America has gone through dark periods in the past and we will navigate through this one. The key lies in practicing our nation’s values of liberty, tolerance and inclusion. In this, we stand united with Charlottesville and every other American community—to defend the American way of life, protecting every American from violent terrorism, whatever its origin.  We take inspiration from the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

As Americans, as Santa Monicans, we stand together against violence, terrorism and the intolerance that spawns them. We call upon all who love our nation and our community to respond to this crisis in the spirit of Dr. King—and drive out hate with love.