House and Senate Democrats release public community letter on increase in anti-Semetic, hateful, and bigoted language; urge Coloradans not to be bystanders

DENVER, CO– General Assembly Democrats today released a public community letter on the increase in antisemetic, bigoted and racist langauge during the spread of COVID-19. 

“We are seeing an unacceptable rise in hate speech in our communities in the wake of this outbreak, and as Colorado’s representatives, it is our obligation to speak up and show that this type of language has no place in our state,” said Jewish Caucus Chair Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “We are calling on Coloradans to join us in condemning bigotry and anti-Semitism and to work together in our communities to confront this danger.” 

The letter, which was organized by the Jewish Caucus, asks Coloradans to report hate crimes and embody the values we share: understanding, compassion, empathy, patience, charity and grace. It is endorsed by the leaders of the Jewish, Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ legislative caucuses of the General Assembly. 

Coloradans can add their name to the letter here, and the full list of signatories and a Spanish translation of the letter can be found here

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Coloradans, 

We write to you as concerned citizens, advocates and as your neighbors. We are Colorado House and Senate Democrats and leaders of the Jewish, Black, Latino and LGBTQ Legislative Caucuses. We endorse this letter because we are deeply concerned by the increase in bigotry and racism we are seeing and because we are compelled to speak up. We must come together as Coloradans, united to make sure that hate has no home in our state.

To see the full list of signatories, please visit this website

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak its havoc across the globe and to date, the crisis has cost us 42,514 American lives — 500 in Colorado alone. As we continue to take the necessary steps to slow the spread of this virus and keep our communities safe, we the undersigned, pause for a moment to emphasize our shared commitment to ensuring that our communities and our state persevere through this crisis together, without turning on each other, and without resorting to hatred, bigotry or divisiveness. 

Our response to this pandemic requires that we follow CDC guidelines, listen to public health experts and practice proper social distancing. As we do so, it is imperative that we do not allow another sickness—racial and religious intolerance—to spread unchecked. In these unprecedented times, combating one pernicious disease is difficult enough. 

Though physically separated, we remain united and resolute: COVID-19 is no excuse for bigotry of any kind.  

We understand that this period of uncertainty has brought confusion and frustration to Coloradans of all backgrounds and identities. The virus has forced governments, including our state government, to make difficult decisions and take emergency action to save lives. We realize that this isn’t easy for anyone. 

We are endlessly thankful for the heroes who have stepped up to the challenge and made enormous sacrifices to support their fellow Coloradans. From our medical professionals, grocery store clerks and bus drivers, to all the folks staying at home, we have seen countless examples of Coloradans stepping up to contain the contagion in a spirit of kinship and togetherness. 

These acts of collective support, of selfless sacrifice and of everyday heroism provide a stark contrast to the examples of hateful and counterproductive behavior we have also seen on display. As such, we condemn—in the strongest possible terms—all acts of bigotry, xenophobia, racism, nativism, and antisemitism that have occurred in the wake of this outbreak. 

Tragically, some have used this pandemic as a cover and an excuse for abhorrent behavior. Hate crimes against Asian-Americans, conspiracy theories denigrating immigrants, statements that compare actions taken by the state’s first Jewish governor to the Gestapo—none of these are acceptable, none of it is Coloradan, and none of it will get us through this crisis any safer or any faster.

While much has already been asked of the great people of our state, much more can be done to ensure we get through this crisis without sacrificing what it means to be a Coloradan. While we do the hard but necessary work of staying indoors, let’s make sure hate has no home in Colorado. 

We ask that as part of doing your part to combat the spread of COVID19, we all aim to speak up in the face of racism and antisemitism, report hate crimes and bigoted attacks, and embody the positive values we would like to see more of in our state: understanding, compassion, empathy, patience, charity and grace. We ask that you join us in making sure these core American values—which the vast majority of Coloradans display proudly every day—continue to guide us as we confront this common enemy. 

To add your name to the letter, please visit this website.

Signed, 

Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City), Jewish Caucus Chair

Representative Leslie Herod (D-Denver), Black Caucus Chair, LGBTQ Caucus

Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver), Latina Caucus Chair

Representative Alex Valdez (D-Denver), LGBTQ Caucus Chair, Latino Caucus Chair

Representative Jeni Arndt (D-Fort Collins)

Speaker   KC Becker (D-Boulder)

Representative Adrienne Benavidez (D-Brighton), Latina Caucus

Representative Shannon Bird (D-Westminster)

Representative Janet Buckner (D-Aurora), Black Caucus

Representative Bri Buentello (D-Pueblo), Latina Caucus

Representative Yadira Caraveo (D-Thornton), Latina Caucus 

Representative James Coleman (D-Denver), Black Caucus

Representative Lisa Cutter (D-Jefferson County)

Representative Monica Duran (D-Wheat Ridge), Latina Caucus

Representative Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), LGBTQ Caucus

Representative Tony Exum, Sr. (D-Colorado Springs), Black Caucus

Representative Meg Froelich (D-Englewood)

Representative Alec Garnett (D-Denver)

Representative Matt Gray (D-Broomfield)

Representative Edie Hooton (D-Boulder)

Representative Dominique Jackson (D-Aurora), Black Caucus

Representative Sonya Jaquez-Lewis (D- Boulder), Latina Caucus, LGBTQ Caucus

Representative Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood)

Representative Cathy Kipp (D-Fort Collins)

Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada)

Representative Susan Lontine (D-Denver)

Representative Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon)

Representative Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango)

Representative Jovan Melton (D-Aurora,) Black Caucus

Representative Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn)

Representative Dylan Roberts (D-Avon)

Representative Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), Jewish Caucus

Representative Emily Sirota (D-Denver), Jewish Caucus

Representative Marc Snyder (D-Manitou Springs)

Representative Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial)

Representative Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood), Latina Caucus

Representative Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), LGBTQ Caucus

Representative Donald Valdez (D-La Jara), Latino Caucus

Representative Mike Weissman (D-Aurora), Jewish Caucus

Representative Steven Woodrow (D-Denver), Jewish Caucus

Representative Mary Young (D-Greeley)

Senate President Leroy Garcia

Senator Jeff Bridges

Senator Steve Fenberg

Senator Rhonda Fields

Senator Mike Foote

Senator Joann Ginal

Senator Julie Gonzales 

Senator Chris Hansen

Senator Dominick Moreno

Senator Brittany Peterson

Senator Robert Rodriguez 

Senator Tammy Story 

Senator Nancy Todd

Senator Angela Williams

Senator Faith Winter

Senator Rachel Zenzinger

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