WASHINGTON (AFP): President Joe Biden on Thursday will address a White House conference on “hate-motivated violence” in his latest bid to call out what he sees as a dangerous tide of extremism across the country, officials said.
The event, dubbed “the United We Stand Summit,” will highlight “the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety,” the White House said in a statement.
The statement cited a deadly racist attack on a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, a mass shooting targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, and another gun massacre, this time targeting African Americans, in Buffalo, New York, in May this year, as the kind of “hateful attacks” threatening the nation.
The summit comes just eight weeks ahead of midterm elections in which Republicans are seeking to take control of Congress.
It also comes just two weeks after Biden delivered a fiery speech denouncing the “extreme ideology” of former president Donald Trump, whose supporters overran the Capitol to try to overturn the 2020 election and who continues to promote far-right conspiracy theories.
A White House official told reporters that Thursday’s event, which will feature a panel with both Republican and Democratic mayors, was not political and would “demonstrate that we can unite across partisan lines.”
A cross-section of civil rights activists, religious leaders, academics and elected officials such as mayors will be among those attending, with Biden set to deliver the main address.
“The summit will put forward a shared vision for a more united America, demonstrating that the vast majority of Americans agree that there is no place for hate-fueled violence in our country, and that when Americans stand united to renew civic bonds and heal divides, we can help prevent acts of hate and violence,” the White House said. “Today’s summit is just the beginning.”