Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Torch of Liberty Award Dinner
May 15, 2003
I am honored to be here.
I want to begin by congratulating the Anti-Defamation League on 60 years in the Pacific Northwest—60 years of fighting for justice and fair treatment for all, and fighting against discrimination of all kinds.
For nine decades, the ADL has been tending freedom’s flame and casting its light into hatred’s darkest corners.
The world is a better, brighter place for this illumination and for the ADL’s relentless pursuit of justice, fairness, and liberty. And thank you Brian Goldberg for your leadership these past four years.
Last week I signed into law SHB 1128.
This new law prohibits an insurance company from canceling, refusing to renew, or changing the terms of an insurance policy because the insured person or organization filed a claim for damages caused by malicious harassment.
Hate crimes are destructive enough without punishing victims for seeking recovery.
The League was a leading supporter of this bill.
We thank you for that support and congratulate you for your successful efforts.
I also want to congratulate tonight’s Torch of Liberty award recipient, Tomio Moriguchi.
Your profound dedication to community service and civil rights is an inspiration to us all.
We are very proud to claim you as a citizen of our state.
But your example of leadership and valuing diversity make you a citizen of the world.
Your dedication to what is humane is a gift to all humanity.
We thank you for that gift tonight.
Tomio, we continue to need your voice and example.
We continue to need the voices of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Anti-Defamation League, JACL and the NAACP to protect our freedoms, liberties – the very things that make out nation great. The very things the terrorists wish to destroy.
Our Bill of Rights must never be glibly dismissed or compromised in the name of homeland security.
Those who question our government’s policies are wrongly criticized for being “unpatriotic” by some who have forgotten what democracy means.
We must make it crystal clear that we will never abdicate our basic freedoms even in this time of danger.
We must also be ever vigilant in rejecting intolerance.
To those who would lash out in anger and hatred against innocent Arab-Americans, Muslims and Sikhs, we say “No. Not in America.”
We must always refuse to condone stereotyping, ignorance and violence.
We will not let past sins be repeated.
We must stand up for our friends and neighbors.
And let us rededicate ourselves to our profound, shared commitments.
We are committed to education.
We must always teach how to challenge prejudice and discrimination.
We must teach how to prevent, identify and respond to hate and violence.
We must teach how to make moral decisions.
These lessons begin at home and preschool, continue through college, the workplace, and on through life.
We are committed to diversity.
The strength of our nation comes from our diversity of people, cultures and religions.
Diversity is the soul of a free society.
We must always celebrate and protect that diversity.
We are committed to justice and to fairness.
We understand that a threat to the fair treatment of anybody is a threat to us all.
We know that discrimination takes many forms, all bad.
We are committed to the past.
We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, and the importance of remembrance and awareness to the survival of humanity.
We must never forget the injustices of Japanese internment and the shame of segregation, lest those and wrongs be repeated again.
Finally, we are committed to the future.
We are committed to a world without evil, without hatred, without discrimination, without prejudice.
Until we live in such a world, we must keep working for such a world.
And we will. And that’s why the work of the ADL is so necessary and the contributions of citizens like Tomio Moriguchi are so important.
Keep up the great work.