Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
October 8, 2001
Peace be on you.
I am honored and humbled that you have invited me into your place of worship.
I come here today with a simple message: you are not alone.
As some respond to the incidents of September 11 by lashing out at other Americans with anger and hatred, know that your government and the vast majority of your community stand with you: as brothers and sisters, and fellow Americans.
I have no intention of being the governor of a divided state – we are one Washington.
And we must not repeat past mistakes – Japanese internment.
Let me be clear – we will not tolerate the abuse of your, or anyone’s civil rights.
I pledge that I will always continue to speak out against all acts of intolerance.
I have sent a letter to Secretary Norm Mineta denouncing discrimination by airlines.
I am sending a letter to over 100,000 state employees asking them to stand against intolerance and to reach out to their Muslim and Arab neighbors.
I am sending a similar letter to community leaders across the state: churches, chambers of commerce, labor organizations, local officials and many others.
As a state, we must stand together.
We must grieve together, and we must heal together – there is no room for division.
How do we heal our nation? We must strengthen our communities.
This mosque gives us the example. While vandalism and violence targeted Idris Mosque, look at how your neighbors responded. The outpouring of love and support has been astounding! This is how we will triumph.
Let us reach out, and learn about our neighbors. Build relationships. Invite each other into our homes and our places of worship. Celebrate the cultural and spiritual mosaic that is America.
As your community suffers attack from those who would make you feel separate, who think you are not American enough, some of you may doubt the security of your place in our society. Put that doubt aside.
The freedoms of our nation belong to all of us. But they must be protected. Do not be afraid to stand up for your rights – they belong to you, and no one can take them from you. And remember – we will stand with you.
We face a grave challenge. How will we respond? With fear and division? Or with love and understanding? Will our communities be weakened by fear, or strengthed by unity?
Let us pledge to each other that we will rob the terrorists of their victory, by drawing closer together as Americans and making our community, our state and our nation even stronger.