22 National Progressive Leaders Launch ‘Five-Alarm Fire’ Open Letter; Call For ‘Voting Renaissance’ to Show Our Country is Better than Trump’s Hate

Leaders call for a massive, nonviolent mobilization to stand up against Trump’s bigotry and incitement of violence.

A new open letter signed by more than 20 leading progressive voices calls the rise of Donald Trump a “five-alarm fire for our democracy” and urges all Americans of good will to commit to standing up to his “alarming and dangerous” campaign of hate and incitement. The leaders plan a massive nonviolent mobilization including protests, voter turnout efforts, and greater accountability for leaders who refuse to condemn Trump.

The 22 initial signers are leaders of prominent progressive institutions representing a diverse array of communities and millions of members. The group plans to solicit additional signatures moving forward.

“Donald Trump’s candidacy is a threat to the America we love, and we must respond to him and what he is stoking as such—with a nonviolent movement grounded in love and community that ensures that he never comes anywhere near the White House, and perhaps even more importantly, makes clear to every other politician and every person in the United States that racist demagoguery is a dead-end political strategy that most Americans reject,” the letter reads.

The letter continues: “We do that by being ourselves—by demonstrating the kind of resilient, diverse, prosperous nation that we must build for the sake of our lives, our families, and the potential of our country. … That’s why today we are calling for a massive nonviolent mobilization of working people, students, immigrants, children of immigrants, great-great-grandchildren of immigrants, people of color and white people, the unemployed and under-employed, people of faith, retirees, veterans, women, and men—anyone who opposes bigotry and hate and loves freedom and justice—to stand up to Trump’s bullying and bigotry.”

In recent days, Trump has doubled down on his support for violence at his rallies, suggesting he could pay the legal fees of a supporter who sucker-punched a protester in the face, and placing the blame for violence on those who disagree with him instead of on his own violence-inducing rhetoric—a conclusion few, including every other Republican and Democratic presidential candidate, have had little trouble making.

The full text of the letter and original signers are below:

To our brothers and sisters:

This is a five-alarm fire for our democracy.

A hate-peddling bigot who openly incites violence is the likely presidential nominee of one of our nation’s two major parties. It is alarming and dangerous.

Donald Trump’s candidacy is a threat to the America we love, and we must respond to him and what he is stoking as such—with a nonviolent movement grounded in love and community that ensures that he never comes anywhere near the White House, and perhaps even more importantly, makes clear to every other politician and every person in the United States that racist demagoguery is a dead-end political strategy that most Americans reject.

We do that by being ourselves—by demonstrating the kind of resilient, diverse, prosperous nation that we must build for the sake of our lives, our families, and the potential of our country.

That’s why today we are calling for a massive nonviolent mobilization of working people, students, immigrants, children of immigrants, great-great-grandchildren of immigrants, people of color and white people, the unemployed and under-employed, people of faith, retirees, veterans, women, and men—anyone who opposes bigotry and hate and loves freedom and justice—to stand up to Trump’s bullying and bigotry.

Please join us, today, by adding your name or organization to this open letter.

Racism, sexism, misogyny, and xenophobia are the currency of Donald Trump’s campaign. Perhaps most troubling, Trump has repeatedly incited and praised violence against those whom he belittles and with whom he disagrees. He has shown little respect for the Constitution and the pluralistic values that define our nation at its best.

He peddles the same right-wing agenda holding back working families and their communities: low wages, massive tax cuts for the wealthy, mass incarceration, denial of climate change, unraveling protections for workers’ rights, attacks on immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, attacks on LGBTQ rights, and more.

If Trump all but locks up the Republican nomination Tuesday night, he’ll no doubt change his tune for the general election; he’s a master propagandist. We must not forget that this is who Trump is:

“Maybe he should have been roughed up.”

“I’d like to punch him in the face.”

“Knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

He longs for the “old days” when dissenters would be “carried out on stretchers.”

Trump’s campaign has assaulted journalists. He has stoked anti-Muslim racism by lying about September 11 and calling for the closing of U.S. borders to one quarter of the world’s people based on religion. He has slandered Mexican Americans and immigrants, denigrated women, and insulted people with disabilities. And the list goes on.

We can not allow this hate-baiter anywhere near the White House, and we will not accept the legitimization of hateful, bullying, and authoritarian politics. This is about more than an election; this is about the tide of history. Who will write it: Donald Trump, or us?

If the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump for president—and the odds are it will—there’s every reason to believe he has a serious shot at winning the general election. We cannot afford to underestimate him until it’s too late, as many Republicans now regret having done during the primaries. If we wait to see how things shake out to make our plans, it’ll be too late and November will come sooner than anyone thinks.

We call for:

  • Non-violent mobilization and organizing. What could this look like in your community? 500 families rallying against hate at the high school football stadium, or 50,000 marching in the streets of your city for love and against hate. Door to door conversations about the values that make our democracy thrive. Teach-ins on the importance of confronting hate. Letters to the editor. Vigorous social media presence. Prayer vigils. Yes, yes, and yes.
  • Asking every media outlet, corporation, and office-holder—from the school board on up to Congress—“Will you condemn Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia?” No one’s off the hook. Decades of dog-whistle politics from political, corporate, and media elites rigging institutions and the economy in their favor at most people’s expense have fertilized the ground that Trump is now tilling for his own gain.
  • A voting renaissance. We know that a majority of Americans reject hate-baiting and racism—if we vote, we stop Trump, and we show that our country is better than this. We can do that while building an even more powerful progressive majority. We need to build a massive volunteer effort to door-knock, phone bank and have real conversations with voters of color, new U.S. citizens, women, Muslim-Americans, working class voters and white voters. It’s that simple.

We have seen the power of movement through the courageous acts of the Dreamers, the Movement for Black Lives, workers fighting for $15 and a union, people fighting for gender equality and against anti-women legislation sweeping the land, and more. If we stand together in this moment across movements and build together we will not only stop Trump, but continue to create a country that protects and respects the dignity and humanity of all people and allows us all to prosper and thrive.

Please, join this call to action as though our democracy and our lives depend on it. They do.

Click here to add your name or organization to this open letter.

Signed (Affiliations are shown for informational purposes only and do not imply endorsement by the organization.)

Anna Galland & Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn.org
Ana Maria Archila, Center for Popular Democracy Action
Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change Action
May Boeve, 350 Action
Michael Brune, Sierra Club
Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
Judith Browne Dianis, Advancement Project
Alexandra Flores-Quilty, United States Students Association
Cristina Jimenez, United We Dream Action
George Goehl, National People’s Action Campaign
Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice
Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA
Heather McGhee, Demos Action
Ai-jen Poo, Domestic Worker Legacy Fund
Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange
Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Action Fund
Linda Sarsour, MPowerChange.org
Eveline Shen, Forward Together
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Miya Yoshitani, APEN Action

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