Sarah and I are heartbroken over the senseless attack in Orlando this weekend. We mourn those lost, honor their memories and pray for healing, both for the victims and for our country. This act was perpetrated by a hate that we simply cannot reconcile with all that makes us strong: diversity, inclusiveness, and above all, love.
It is unclear whether the Orlando attack was a terrorist act or hate crime or both. In many ways, it doesn’t matter. Violent extremism has a single goal: to pit us against one another, using fear to divide us.
But Vermont is stronger than hate, and Vermonters will not be divided.
In the wake of this tragedy, we must take stock of who we are and Vermont’s role in ending hate-fueled violence.
Now, more than ever, our nation needs Vermont to lead the way. We must resume our role as the conscience of the nation -- proudly the first to affirm in the face of opposition that love is love.
Now, more than ever, we must renew our commitment to creating a more just and peaceful country, through policy and everyday actions that help us live our values.
Now, more than ever, it’s not enough to simply tolerate our differences. We must aggressively pursue understanding, we must demand justice and we must conquer hate with love for our neighbors.
Now, more than ever, we must declare in the face of this heinous act that love is love and not allow fear to silence us.
Together, we can come together to create the state we all know is possible, a Vermont that leads the way toward equality, justice and peace. At this time of tragedy, our country needs us.