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Governor: Use hope to fight the hate

Posted at 12:02 PM, Aug 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-13 12:02:18-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe addressed the congregation at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church in Charlottesville on Sunday morning.

During his remarks, he praised the job police and Virginia National Guard did during Saturday's violent Charlottesville rally and protest.

He also condemned the "terrorist" who weaponized a car by driving into a crowd of people. He then called for a moment of silence for Heather Heyer -- who was killed by the car -- and Virginia State Police Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates, who died when their helicopter crashed while they worked during the rally and protest.

Read his full remarks below:

"I was invited to go on a lot of TV shows today. I turned them all down because I needed to be where I should be, here in this beautiful church. Here today and that’s where I want to give my message today.

Reverend Edwards said it must political season, but in fairness, today this is not about politics.

This is about who we are as American citizens. How do we treat one another. Reverend Edwards is right in one regard. It is about politics in that the political rhetoric in this country today has breeded bigotry and hatred.

And we need to call it out for what it is.

To the white supremacists and the neo Nazis that came to our beautiful state yesterday, there is no place for you here in Charlottesville, there is no place for you in Virginia, and there is no place for you in the United States of America.

We deplore your hatred, your bigotry, and shame on you.

You pretend your patriots, you are not patriots, you are dividers.

You want to talk about a patriot, I’ll talk about Barbara Johns who at the age of 16 years old in Prince Edward County Virginia led 400 students in the 50s and said we are not going to tolerate separate education facilities where it rains on us every day and we have no heating.

And she walked those students out and said we’re not coming back until we have as equal facilities as white students and she was successful.

So to you white supremacists and you neo nazies who were here yesterday, Barbara Johns was a patriot, you are not!

To the men and women wearing the cloth of the country, fighting for us today, I went home last night wrote out a long note to my son who is deployed today in a conflict region, he and men and women around the globe today are fighting for our basic freedoms and liberties.

I didn’t know how to write to him to explain what went on with these people who came into our state.

Eighty percent of them I was told carried firearms, marching up and down our beautiful city with semi automatic rifles. This is not what men and women are fighting for to protect around the globe. They’re not putting their lives on the line to let this hatred and bigotry exist in our country, they’re not.

And I want to thank the men and women, local, state and federal, our law enforcement personnel who put their lives on the line yesterday to protect us.

Not one single shot was fired with all these people’s weapons.

No property damage.

They kept us safe.

But for a terrorist driving a car, a weaponized car. I want to thank those men and women, thank the guard and everyone else who was there.

I would like to give a moment of silence to Heather Heyer, to Jay Cullen and Berke Bates who lost their lives yesterday doing what they love doing, fighting for freedoms. We can have a moment of silence.

I was angry last night.

I was close to both those state troopers.

Jay Cullen had flied me around for three and half years. Berke Bates was part of my executive protection unit.

He was part of our family.

This man lived with me 24/7 and after I left here last night, I went over to the Bates home saw his beautiful wife and two beautiful children. I didn’t know what to say to them, but for this hatred and bigotry to occur here yesterday, Berke and Jay would have been home with their families, would have been getting up today to enjoy life.

Heather would have been getting up today enjoying life, a young woman whose life was extinguished.

But today folks we have to get over the anger. Where do we go from here? Who are we as individuals?

I want all of you to know that we stand together with you. We stand together with this city that has been known for its equality, for its diversity, for its opportunity, we stand with you.

We stand together with the African American community who for whatever reason these neo Nazis, these white supremacists for some reason are offended and threatened. We stand with you today folks.

But what I’m asking here for you to do, put the anger aside as I did when I got up this morning, put it aside. Let us use hope. Let us use today to reach out to our fellow citizens, put your hand out to help them. Let us show these people that we are bigger than them, we are stronger than them.

You may have hurt some folks yesterday. We have 19 individuals that have been treated, but I’ll tell you this, you only made us stronger. You go home, you stay out of here because we are a commonwealth that comes together. We are in the house of the Lord where as he said, in this world we will have trouble but he also said, Reverend Edwards did you know take hope for I have overcome the world.

So folks, let us march out of here today inspired to do better, inspired to help others.

I was angry because these folks came in and disrupted. We are a great Commonwealth. I have been so proud to work with this team here to build this new economy, to help everybody.

I am proud that our juvenile detention facility’s population has dropped by half since I’ve been governor. I am proud that we now have the lowest recidivism rate of any state in America because we are investing in people.

And I am proud that we led the nation to give people second chances and to stand here as a Governor who has restored more voting rights than any governor in the history of America.

That is who we are in the Commonwealth of Virginia so let us go forward from here and this won’t be the last time this happens folks and this isn’t going to be the only city it happens to, but let us come together, let us work as one, hope, opportunity.

You are our future as the Lord reached down and grabbed Barbara Johns as a messenger, he is grabbing down today to each one of you.

Oh Lord I said to you today please use us, Hallelujah.