I attended Lori Kay’s funeral at the Chabad House synagogue in San Diego on Sunday. It was a profoundly moving experience, with many who knew and loved her giving heart-wrenching testimony to Lori’s extraordinary kindness.
Kay’s murder carries a particular significance coming as it does six months to the day after the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh. From the shootings in Pittsburgh to the massacre at the mosque in New Zealand and now to Poway, California, a vicious and violent strain of white supremacy is clearly on the rise both domestically and globally.
This scourge is a real and present danger which must be vigorously responded to. That is why, as president, I will support the establishment of a United States Department of Peacebuilding.
White supremacist domestic terrorism is a challenge that cannot be adequately addressed merely on the level of its symptoms. It must be routed out at its roots, on deep causal levels, in a way that a Department of Peacebuilding would be equipped to do. Beginning with childhood initiatives, compassion building, restorative justice and conflict resolution; all the way through common sense gun safety measures and stronger law enforcement, we must address the many dimensions of organized hatred in order to route it from our midst.
Throughout America there are extraordinarily successful peace-building efforts, whose efficacy would be exponentially increased through a higher level of coordination and government support. Aligning federal initiatives, establishing joint funding streams, coordinating data systems, and sharing evaluation strategies with our states, cities and communities, would give sophisticated techniques of violence prevention and interventions the priority they deserve.
Twentieth Century models of problem-solving are not adequate responses to the problems in our midst. As someone who has worked closely with people seeking to transform their lives for the past 35 years, I am uniquely qualified to address the root causes of violence in our society. Where fear and hatred have become collectivized - harnessed for political purposes and empowered by presidential dog whistles – we must now operationalize love.
The Chabad rabbi Lori Kay’s funeral gave a beautiful talk about how love will cast out evil. He kept insisting to his congregation, “Something good will come of this.” May it be so.
All my best,
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