The members of Soka Gakkai International-USA repudiate hatred and bigotry and appeal for equality and justice for all. The white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA, last weekend stands in the starkest contrast to the beautiful tapestry of all people that America should be.

It is difficult to believe that in 2017, we must stand witness to individuals bearing torches while chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. It harkens back to the darkest days of American history.

That same history teaches us that apathy among people of goodwill is an accelerant for the bigotry and hatred that feeds the fire of physical violence. The passive violence of white nationalist ideology, if left unchallenged, will always march toward its ultimate goal of physical violence. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made this vital point in his 1967 speech “The Other America.”

“In the final analysis, racism is evil because its ultimate logic is genocide.. … If one says that I am not good enough to live next door to him, if one says that I am not good enough to eat at a lunch counter, or to have a good, decent job, or to go to school with him merely because of my race, he is saying consciously or unconsciously that I do not deserve to exist.”

Dr. King also famously declared, “All that needs to happen for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing.”

Committing ourselves afresh today to advocating for the values of Buddhist humanism while standing up for human dignity, SGI-USA will never relent in its efforts to build a culture of peace in the United States.