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Dozens of National Organizations Run Full-Page ‘We Are Better Than This’ Ad in New York Times, Urge Politicians to Denounce Hate and Division

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, December 10, 2015

CONTACT:
Brian Stewart | 319.936.3901 | press@moveon.org

*** SEE THE FULL-PAGE TIMES AD HERE: http://bit.ly/1SPayMb ***
*** SEE THE CAMPAIGN WEBSITE HERE: WeAreBetterThanThis.com ***

More than 700 groups and individuals are backing the campaign, including MoveOn.org, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, United We Dream, Center for Community Change, Demos, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Arab-American Association of New York, MPower Change, SEIU, and Color of Change.

NEW YORK, NY – A full-page ad running in this Thursday’s New York Times calls on elected officials, leading public voices, and the media to “stop the spread of hate and division” as the United States faces a rising tide of Islamophobia, racism, and fear-baiting alongside a spate of violent attacks that seem fueled and at times directly inspired by such dangerous rhetoric. The ad was initiated by nine national organizations representing a broad range of communities and perspectives—and hundreds of national and regional organizations have subsequently signed on.

“When has hate ever led to progress? Is this really what we want America to be?” the ad asks. “We Are Better Than This. We call upon our politicians, leaders and the media to stop the spread of hate and division. And we pledge to stand with any community that is targeted by hateful rhetoric and violence.”

The effort also features a website, WeAreBetterThanThis.com, where organizations and individuals can pledge to stand against hate and in defense of targeted communities.

*** See a high-res copy of the ad here: http://bit.ly/1SPayMb 

*** See the campaign website and a full list of signees here: WeAreBetterThanThis.com

The organizations initiating the ad are: MoveOn.org, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, United We Dream, Center for Community Change, Demos, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Arab-American Association of New York, MPower Change, SEIU, and Color of Change.

Other leading groups and individuals who have signed on include Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, the NAACP, the ACLU, the American Federation of Teachers, the Working Families Party, AFSCME, the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the National Congress of American Indians, Voto Latino, People For the American Way, and many more.

“In response to the rise of violent vitriol aimed at vulnerable communities, increasing numbers of Americans are standing visibly together and against fear, division, and xenophobia,” said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action. “Throughout our history, hate has never led to progress. We stand together around our common values of compassion, self-determination, justice, equality, and human rights and against the vigilante violence and hatred that’s surging especially on the American right. Dangerous rhetoric from politicians, media outlets, and cultural figures is fueling acts of devastating violence. We won’t tolerate it.”

The ad comes just days after the leading Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, said he would ban Muslims from entering the United States. In recent weeks, Trump and other political candidates and media figures and outlets have engaged in hateful rhetoric and have proposed discriminatory policy proposals that send a dangerous signal making violence against vulnerable communities more likely.

“In a week where Donald Trump says Muslims must be barred from America, and within weeks of horrific attacks, it’s a real ray of hope to see such a diverse array of Americans standing together to say clearly that we are better than this,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance.

In full, the ad reads:

Is this America? 

We grieve the many lives that have been lost or painfully transformed in recent weeks through extreme acts of violence. And we are appalled by the surge of divisive rhetoric that sows the seeds of more violence to come.  A dangerous tide of hatred, violence, and suspicion is rising in America — whether aimed at Arab and Muslim Americans, women and the places we seek health care, Black people, immigrants and refugees, or people just going about their daily lives. This tide is made more dangerous by easy access to guns.

When has hate ever led to progress? Is this really what we want America to be?

We Are Better Than This.

We call upon our politicians, leaders and the media to stop the spread of hate and division. And we pledge to stand with any community that is targeted by hateful rhetoric and violence. This campaign is supported by the undersigned, and others listed at www.wearebetterthanthis.com. Please sign on to pledge your support. 

“When public figures demonize whole swaths of people for their own political gain, they are complicit in the escalation from words to deeds that follow,” said Heather McGhee, president of Demos. “Now is the time for all Americans of good conscience to declare their side, and affirm that we are made strong by our diversity, and made strongest by our unity. #WeAreBetterThanThis.”

“This feels like a tipping point for our nation,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Are we going to allow hateful rhetoric and the exploitation of fear to be our response or are we going to rise up and declare that we are better than this? We have seen that dangerous and divisive words can lead to unspeakable tragedies. We have seen that the intentional misrepresentation of facts can inspire hate. And we have seen that dividing the nation makes us less safe not more safe. Now we must decide if this is the path we want to continue down or if we’re finally ready to say enough is enough, hold leaders accountable and demand that they represent the best of America, not the worst.”

“The 14 people shot and killed in San Bernardino — including 10 SEIU members — were full of life,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU. “They had families and friends. They had dreams that were coming true in America — an America that we know is better than the hate and division we are seeing. We need real leadership, not hateful rhetoric that turns neighbor against neighbor and incites more violence.”

For more information or for interviews with #WeAreBetterThanThis organizers, please contact MoveOn’s media team.