Home African Americans Video: At Howard University Commencement, President Joe Biden Calls Out White Supremacy...

Video: At Howard University Commencement, President Joe Biden Calls Out White Supremacy as “the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland”

President Biden calls the August 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville " something I never thought I would ever see in America"

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Great speech, spot-on accurate, by President Joe Biden at the Howard University commencement earlier today. See below for video and highlights of his remarks, which are absolutely worth listening to, thinking about, and TAKING ACTION on.

“…when it comes to race in America, hope doesn’t travel alone. It’s shadowed by fear, by violence and by hate. But after the election and the re-election of the first Black American president, I had hoped that the fear of violence and hate was significantly losing ground. The fields literally with torches, carrying Nazi banners, from the woods and the fields, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s, something I never thought I would ever see in America – accompanied by klansmen and white supremacists, merging from dark rooms and remote fields and the anonymity of the internet, confronting decent Americans of all backgrounds standing in their way into the bright light of day. And a young woman objecting to their presence was killed. What did you hear? That famous quote when asked about what happened…’there are very fine people on both sides’. That’s when I knew, and I’m not joking, that’s when I knew I had to stay engaged and get back into public life…

…I don’t have to tell you that fearless progress towards justice often means ferocious push back from the oldest and most sinister of forces. That’s because hate never goes away. I thought when I graduated we could defeat hate. But it never goes away; it’s only hides under the rocks. And when it’s given oxygen it comes out from under that rock. That’s why we know this truth as well – silence is complicity. [We] cannot remain silent; we have to live through this battle for the soul of the nation. And it is still a battle for the soul of the nation.

What is the soul of a nation? Well I believe the soul is the breath, the life, the essence of who we are. The soul makes us us. The soul of America is whgat makes us unique among all nations. We’re the only country founded on an idea – not geography, not religion, not ethnicity – but an idea, the sacred proposition rooted in scripture and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that we’re all created equal in the image of God and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.

While we’ve never fully lived up to that promise, we never before fully walked away from it. We know that American history has not always been a fairy tale. From the start, it’s been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years between the best of us – the American idea that we’re all created equal – and the worst of us  – the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart. It’s a battle that’s never really over. But on the best days, enough of us have the guts and the hearts to stand up for the best in us – to choose love over hate, unity over disunion, progress over retreat. To stand up against the poison of white supremacy as I did in my inaugural address, to single out as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland is white supremacy.

And I’m not saying this because I’m at a Black HBCU. I say it wherever I go. To stand up for truth over lies, lies told for power and profit. To confront the ongoing assault to subvert our elections to suppress our right to vote. That assault came just as you cast your first ballots in 20 and 22. Record turnouts. You delivered historic progress.

I made it clear that Americans of all backgrounds have an obligation to call out political violence that has been unleashed and emboldened, as was mentioned already – bomb threats to this very university and HBCUs across the country. It’s put democracy on the ballot, to reject political extremism and reject political violence, protect fundamental rights and freedom for women to choose, for transgender children to be free, for affordable health care and housing, for the right to raise your family and retire with dignity, to stand with leaders of your generation who give voice to the people demanding action on gun violence, only to be expelled from state legislative bodies; to stand against books being banned and Black history being erased…to stand up in the best of us…and today I come here to Howard to continue the work to redeem the soul of this nation, because it’s here where I see the future and…that’s not hyperbole…

…let’s be clear, there are those who don’t see you and don’t want this future. There are those who demonize and pit people against one another. And there are those who’d do anything and everything no matter how desperate or immoral to hold on to
power. That’s never going to be an easy battle. But I know this –
the oldest, most sinister forces may believe they’ll determine America’s future, but they are wrong! We will determine America’s future! YOU will determine America’s future! And that’s not hyperbole…

…In our lives, in the life of the nation, we know that fear can shadow hope. But it’s also true that hope can defeat fear. In January 2021, I stood in the U.S Capitol to be inaugurated as president of the United States. Just days before, on that very spot, a violent insurrection took place – a dagger at the throat of democracy. For the first time in our history an attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power in this country. They failed. Our democracy held. Again, jope prevailed. And this time I was standing with a Black woman about to take a two-mile procession down Pennsylvania Avenue as President and Vice President of the United States of America. And who was marching alongside her? The Howard University marching band, in lockstep and solidarity…

I give you my words…Class of 2023, you’re the reason I’m so
optimistic about the future. And I give my word, I really mean it, you’re part of the most gifted, tolerant, talented, best-educated generation in American history. That’s a fact. And it’s your generation more than anyone else’s will answer the questions for America. Who are we? What do we stand for? What do you believe? What do we believe? What do we want to be? I’m not saying you have to share this burden all on your own. The task at hand ahead is the work of all of us. But what I am saying is you represent the best of us…you represent the best of us; your generation will not be ignored…Congratulations to you all; we need you, God bless you and may God protect our troops.”

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