The Hill: Maintaining democratic values in the face of race
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
The Hill - A year ago, when Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Cecile Kyenge spoke in Washington at a Capitol Hill event, she emphasized the European Union’s (EU) motto: “united in diversity.” Today we can see just how deeply challenged this principle is – not just among EU member states, but throughout the world.
By Reps. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.)
A year ago, when Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Cecile Kyenge spoke in Washington at a Capitol Hill event, she emphasized the European Union’s (EU) motto: “united in diversity.” Today we can see just how deeply challenged this principle is – not just among EU member states, but throughout the world.
Across Europe, fear-mongering, anti-migrant political parties have made legislative gains and now rule in Hungary, Austria
Examples of such toxicity are readily identifiable. Earlier this summer, political leaders in Austria called for Jews and Muslims to pre-register to consume kosher and halal food, harkening back to the use of “lists” during the Holocaust. In November, the Danish parliament
In November, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency launched its
Ironically, MEP Kyenge, the first person of African descent to have served in the Italian cabinet, is facing defamation charges for calling a ruling political party “racist.” This is nothing less than an effort to punish MEP Kyenge for speaking truth to power.
As African-American members of Congress, we have had first-hand experiences with racism, and are grappling with its rise on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans of color in Europe serving as diplomats or in the armed services, or as exchange students, or on travel have also recounted to us their personal experiences with discrimination and prejudice, ranging from denial of service at restaurants to brutal attacks in the streets. We know that, in both the United States and in Europe, a failure to tackle racism
The reality is that Europe, like the United States, is already diverse. How our countries manage that diversity is a litmus test. Can our democracies, the ones we have fought wars to build and protect, respect the equal rights of
We will continue to work with colleagues across our districts, across the aisle
Together, our nations can move towards a future in which racially, ethnically, and otherwise diverse populations are celebrated, guaranteed fundamental human rights, and given the tools, opportunities, and support needed to realize and sustain the ideals of our democracies.
Moore is the whip of the Congressional Black Caucus. She and Jackson Lee are commissioners on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Hastings is a former Commission chair. Meeks is co-chair of the European Union Caucus.
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