Budget amendment will end progress on racism

To the Editor: On April 7th, State Rep. Darly Abass lent his support for a budget that includes language that would essentially shut down conversations about racism that our state and nation need to have, otherwise known as “propagation of divisive concepts.”

This language was snuck into the budget without a hearing or committee. The sad part was that Abass decided to use his father’s heritage to legitimize something that will directly impact people like his father.

As an Arab who can’t hide my identity, and who continues to face systemic racism, including still being checked at airports for bomb material, I’m aware of what research has proven, that attacks and hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims increase around elections. Why? Because it’s structural racism that produces it.

We are often used by politicians to create a fear that they will save people from to get votes, such as Donald Trump’s Muslim ban speech. This is no different than the murders of Asian women being tied to the former president’s use of words like “Kung flu” or “China Virus” when speaking of COVID.

Amendments like the one Abass supported would stop the government from engaging with these critical topics that affect residents like me. Issues our government is responsible for and has a moral obligation to address.

I still have hope for a truly multiracial democracy, one where Black, Brown, and White people can thrive, and that can only happen if we can have the difficult conversations the majority of the people in our nation know we need to have.

ASMA ELHUNI

Lebanon

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