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Austin mayor to lead on promotion of Mayors’ Compact to 'fight hate’

240 mayors join ADL to combat ‘extremism and bigotry’ in the wake of Charlottesville violence

Baltimore city workers remove graffiti from the pedestal where a statue dedicated to Robert E. Lee and Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson stood August 16, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. The City of Baltimore removed four statues celebrating confederate heroes from city parks overnight, following the weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia
Win McNamee/Getty Images

As Curbed reported Friday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League have launched new joint effort, the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism, and Bigotry.

The compact, signed by 40 mayors from across the country, was created in response to President Donald Trump’s press conference and subsequent statements on the violent demonstrations at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s office announced Friday that he has been asked to “help lead a coordinated campaign across this country” to promote the the compact.

“Terrorism by white supremacists, like what took place in Charlottesville, is a clear and present danger to America’s cities,” said Adler. “Mayors are eager to join with the Anti-Defamation League to fight hate. ... Only the Statute of Liberty should be carrying a torch these days, and her message of respect must echo in America’s cities where this battle is being fought.”

The compact, which has 10 components, reads in part:

“Dark forces of extremism and violent bigotry are rearing their ugly heads. We are now seeing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement.

We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric, and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews, and other minorities. We will not permit them to succeed.”

Other leaders who have joined the effort include mayors from cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Adler joined the ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt on CNN's At This Hour With Kate Bolduan on Friday morning to announce the Mayors' Compact.

“For mayors, this is not a political or partisan issue,” Adler told Bolduan:

“This is the work we do every day. You know, we can tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. There are only two sides to racism, the right side of history and the wrong side of history. I think that governments and leaders need to be very strong and straightforward on that.

“The Compact talks about being clear about the message, education in schools for our children about respect and tolerance. It's talking about keeping the public safe and in a way that protects First Amendment rights. It is talking about hate crimes, enforcement, and education. There are a lot of specific steps that mayors are taking every day in cities.”

Adler also addressed questions about Austin and the City Council’s current discussion of renaming Robert E. Lee Road, which runs alongside Barton Springs in South Austin:

“[Renaming the street is] a way to send a really strong message. Here in Austin, yes, we are looking at that issue because it's an important part of the conversation. There's so much we should be celebrating that we don't need to celebrate a past that includes racist or segregation tendencies. We have that history in Austin. It is important for us, [and we are] responsible now for moving past that. ... It's really important that conversation take place in an unambiguous way.”

Austin’s former Robert E. Lee Elementary School was renamed last year.

In another interview to promote the pact, Adler told Think Progress that “mayors don’t need a teleprompter to say Nazis are bad.” His remarks also appeared in Insider Louisville, The Times of Israel, and The Washington Times Friday.

You can read Adler’s official remarks on the compact on his website.

240 mayors join compact to 'fight hate, extremism' in wake of Charlottesville violence [Curbed]