Open Letter

"Hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen"

June 28, 2021

April 22, 2022

Photo: Neil Blake |

Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow just set a model for us all to emulate by publicly standing up to political hate speech.

By this letter, we ask that you, too, refuse to stay silent in the face of attacks on fundamental American democratic principles of civil discourse and fair treatment.

Senator McMorrow was the subject of a fundraising letter in which a fellow Michigan Senator, Lana Theis, stated: "Progressive social media trolls like Senator Mallory McMorrow [D-Snowflake] who are outraged they can't teach can't groom and sexualize kindergarteners or that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.” 

We are in a dangerous moment when this passes for acceptable political conversation in America today.

Civil discourse and fair treatment, including respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals, are essential components of American democracy and indispensable to the preservation of our democratic institutions and the rule of law.

Senator McMorrow responded with a speech on the floor of the Michigan Senate, where she described how she was taught to manifest her values and faith in deeds of kindness, compassion, and service to others. She then stated:

“Hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen. … We will not let hate win.” 

The senator’s powerful speech is a call to action for us all. Political discourse has taken a dangerous turn. Public officials are using children and teachers as pawns in a cruel effort to incite anger as a fundraising tool. Legislators have passed and governors have signed into law statutes that, in effect, allow community members to ban books, and prevent children from learning fundamental truths about American history. 

LGBTQ students and children from non-traditional families have been further placed at risk for bullying and derision, by laws designed to cause humiliation and shame. And teachers now find themselves in an untenable position, as  educators are being terminated based on parental disapproval of their teaching method. As in other times in history when democracies have been attacked, fear is now a component of teaching and learning. 

As members of the legal profession, we have the responsibility to defend the norms of political behavior on which our democracy depends. The values and principles threatened here go much deeper, and are more important than mere politics, policy differences, or the self-interest of any politician. The very heart of our democracy is at stake when fear overwhelms truth and the ability to communicate respectfully. 

LDAD’s call to action is simple. We ask you to sign this statement as a commitment to:

  • Speak up publicly in response to hate used as a weapon in campaigning and governing. 

  • Protect our children from being used as pawns in political discourse, and speak out against the banning of books.

  • Defend teachers who seek to educate our children in an atmosphere free from censorship and fear of reprisals, and who seek to promote an environment of openness and inclusion.

  • Protect groups that are being further marginalized, recognizing that real and often irreparable harm is inflicted when people are emboldened to disrespect and diminish others through public policy.

  • Speak out. We must all commit to make this the rallying cry for restoring decency and civility to our public conversations: #HateWon’tWin.

Press Release

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