In 2017, we saw the vision of a minority who want to return America to the Jim Crow era, where mobs and terror reigned, where discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and national origin was both practice and policy, and where the basic humanity of our fellow citizens was denied. We must not let this happen.

We must choose to reject hate, bigotry, and racism. We must work for equality, justice, and freedom for all Americans. We saw that, too, in 2017: clergy, students, and citizens standing up to racist mobs, rejecting their ideas, and denouncing hate. We must continue to do so.

And we must elect leaders who do it with us; who speak out forcefully against the hateful vision of America we have seen on display in Charlottesville and elsewhere.

There is no doubt that our history is complex; we are an imperfect people with an imperfect past. Examining our society, our history, our privileges, and our biases is not always an obvious or easy process. For some, the hate and bigotry on display in Charlottesville was a shock and a wake-up call. For others, it was a demonstration of something they have been saying for some time: racism, bigotry, and hatred remain powerful forces in American life.

We are called now to protect our fundamental American ideals—equality, liberty, justice, freedom, civil rights, and democracy—and to ensure that these ideals define our society. In Congress, I will work to protect the civil rights of every American.

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