As part of his efforts to fulfill his campaign promise to “repair the soul of the nation,” President Joe Biden will attend a White House meeting next month to tackle a wave of hate-fueled violence in the United States.
The White House announced on Friday that Vice President Joe Biden will host the United We Stand Summit on September 15. The summit will focus on the “corrosive effects” of violence on public safety and democracy. Advocates urged Biden to hold the event after 10 Black people were killed in a store in Buffalo, New York, in May, in addition to addressing a spate of hate-motivated killings in El Paso, Texas, Pittsburgh, and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
“As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation ‘we must all enlist in this great cause of America,’” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. ”The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.”
Biden will deliver the keynote address at the event, which, according to the White House, will include civil rights organizations, religious leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, victims of extremist violence, and cultural figures. The White House highlighted that it seeks to join Democrats, Republicans, and political leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to combat hate-motivated violence.
Biden, a Democrat, has frequently attributed his decision to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020 to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. During his campaign, he pledged to seek to bridge political and social divides and foster national unity, but achieving these goals is still a work in progress.
Sindy Benavides, the chief executive officer of the League of United Latin American Citizens, stated that the summit was conceived after the Buffalo massacre, when her organization, along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network, and other groups, sought to exert pressure on the Biden administration to more directly combat extremist threats.
“As civil rights organizations, social justice organizations, we fight every day against this, and we wanted to make sure to acknowledge that government needs to have a leading role in addressing right-wing extremism,” she said.
The White House stated that the list of speakers and participants would be released closer to the event. In addition, no particular policy statements by Biden would be previewed. Last year, Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and issued the nation’s first National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, according to officials.
Benavides stated that Biden’s hosting of the summit will energize the nation to face the dangers posed by hate-motivated violence, and that she hoped “long-term solutions” would emerge from the meeting.
“What’s important to us is addressing mental health, gun control reform, addressing misinformation, disinformation and malinformation,” she said. “We want policy makers to focus on common sense solutions so we don’t see this type of violence in our communities. And we want to see the implementation of policies that reduce violence.”