The comments were given in response to violent events over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Saturday, white supremacist groups gathered in the city for a “Unite the Right” march. Counterprotesters met the march and brawling ensued. According to the New York Times, a vehicle plowed into the counterprotesters and another vehicle, killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer.
Councilmember M. Christopher Boyer began by saying that the incident is one of domestic terrorism.
“I don’t think we can take this too seriously, or seriously enough,” he said. “The acts of armed white men in Charlottesville are terrorism.”
He then quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Hate is too great a burden to bear, and I have decided to love,” he said.
He closed with a message of hope.
“We cannot give into hate,” Boyer said. “We must continue to love our brothers and our sisters and our neighbors, no matter how wrongheaded we think they are. But we can’t just make love a sweet, sentimental, ineffective kid of love. We must hold them to account.”
“We must remember that speech is free,” he continued, “but speech carries consequences. You don’t get to be a Nazi in the United States of America and still call yourself a patriotic American. There was a war fought about that, and the whole world was involved. You don’t get to parade down the streets with a Confederate battle flag and say you are a patriotic American. There was a war about that too, and both the Nazis and Confederates lost.”
Councilmember Ian Cotton expressed similar passion Monday night.
“I am very proud of our community,” he said. “It’s a place where neighbors know each other and anyone is accepted as being a neighbor. I’m really proud of that.”
“As a white Christian male in America,” he continued, “I vehemently denounce and abhor this resurgence of this lie that somehow the color of what a person’s skin is, the amount of keratin pigment in their skin, somehow elevates or lowers them in any way above or below another person with a different amount of keratin pigment in their skin. It’s ridiculous if it wasn’t so terrible and awful. That lie has no place in our city, and it has no place in our country.”
Councilmember Shirley Sutton said leaders need to seriously look at issues involving racism.
“My prayers and I know many others are with those families and communities that suffered from the tragedy that occurred,” she said.
Council President Benjamin Goodwin offered positive thoughts about Lynnwood.
“Lynnwood is a community of light,” he said. “We need to continue to make that light brighter. Love begins with our children. Hate does not just grow in their hearts, that is taught, unfortunately. Show them, by example, love, and help our community to be a community of light, because that light will continue to shine and shine.”
“Let’s not bring or accept this attitude that one person is better than another,” he continued. “People that think that, they’re idiots, and that’s all.”