Atlantic County leaders rally against hatred in light of Charlottesville, presidential response

A group of local leaders held a rally that most said shouldn’t be necessary in 2017.
But with the violence in Charlottesville — and President Donald Trump’s much-criticized response — they felt Atlantic County needed to take a stand.
“We are here today in all our diversity to state that we will not look back to the bad old days, when racism and bigotry were tolerated,” Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said Wednesday.
The head of the Atlantic City Chapter of the NAACP called the rally in the lobby of the City Hall.
The bright spot, Shabazz said, was that everyone he asked to attend — whether Democrat or Republican, and regardless of race or religion — said yes.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson referred to Edmund Burke’s quote that “the only necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“When hate reigns and it’s determined equal to those contesting it, that is a moral crisis,” Levinson said, referring to Trump’s remarks that all sides — whether white supremacist or those protesting against them — played a role in what happened.

“There is no discussion for what happened,” Mayor Don Guardian said, “only condemnation.”
Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam said this has forced people to see that racism isn’t something that has been left in the past.
“There has never not been a need for this,” he said after the rally. “We have so much work to do. There are still people fearful of facing our horrific past.”
A “Rally to Resist White Supremacy” was also planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Galloway.
Unitarian Rev. Dawn Fortune also attended the Atlantic City rally.
“We are not only entitled to fight back, we are morally obligated,” she said. “White supremacy is on the rise and has a champion in the highest office.”