A Terrorist Attack We Must NOT Forget
by Jeffrey Imm
June 10, 2010
A year ago, on June 10, 2009, in Washington DC, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was attacked by a white supremacist, Holocaust denier James Von Brunn, who sought to enter the museum with a rifle to kill Jews. In his murderous rage, he shot and killed black security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, who was in Von Brunn's way. The terrorist James Von Brunn was shot and stopped by security guard Harry Weeks and other security guards, and Von Brunn died in a prison hospital on January 6, 2010.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) has been reporting on the growth of white supremacist and anti-Semitic hatred (as well as other identity group hatred) long before last year's attack, and long after it. We have continued to report on the June 10, 2009 Holocaust Memorial Museum attack news reports, as well as the related news not reported by major media outlets. We pointed out how some sought to use the terrorist attack to prevent hate crime laws from being passed. We pointed out out those who supported Von Brunn's terrorism and called for further acts of hate and violence. We pointed out those who sought to promote racial hatred in America's national capital. Moreover, we didn't just passively report such issues, but we held public events to raise awareness on these issues, and we actively protested such hate. We felt that was part of our obligation in being "responsible for equality and liberty."
We don't see anything "left-wing" or "right-wing" about defying such hate. We just view defying hate as simply following the truths that we hold self-evident as Americans, and the dignity that we should all enjoy as human beings.
We know that the June 10, 2009 terrorist attack was motivated by HATE.
The terrorist Von Brunn himself documented his philosophy in writing to a
Nazi sympathizer in Germany,
stating that hate was "natural, normal and necessary," and that "compassionate
nations" would "die."
This philosophy of terrorist hate should give us all pause to reflect. If anything were to be learned from the June 10, 2009 terrorist attack, it is the cancerous destruction that hate will cause.
In our support for our universal human rights of equality and liberty, we offer another approach. While we defy hate, we also offer an outstretched hand, not an upraised fist, to those who hate. We urge those who hate to release such burden of hate from their hearts and to join us in defending our human rights, which are also their human rights.
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is intended to remember the worst atrocity committed against an identity group in human history. When such a place is itself the target of terrorist hatred, it should be a severe warning signal for Americans and all human beings. But that warning signal has been scrupulously ignored, as has the terrorist attack itself been largely forgotten. Even worse, some have sought to rationalize hate against other identity groups themselves, and sadly like Von Brunn, have come to view that compassion is only for the weak.
The cancer of hate has continued to spread. Months after the June 10, 2009 terrorist attack, I saw some people with signs in the streets of Washington DC promoting racial hatred, some carrying signs with swastikas, and some with signs spewing vulgar and obscene messages. Racial supremacist and anti-Semitic groups have sought to promote their cause in our nation's capital and around the country. On our public airwaves, there are those openly call for bombing houses of worship, who openly promote racist views, who question American legislation designed to guarantee our civil rights, and who ultimately believe that hate is the answer to our nation's and to the world's problems.
The lesson that has been taught by the Holocaust has been summarized as "Never Again."
The lesson that the June 10, 2009 terrorist attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum must teach us is "Never Again to Hate."
That is a lesson that too many are not interested in hearing about. But if we ever seek to be responsible for equality and liberty, it is our most vital lesson to be learned.
For many reasons, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum terror attack must not be forgotten. But on June 10, 2010, a year later, there was little interest in remembering it. Washington DC area mainstream newspapers only posted AP wire reports to their web sites buried in the "local news sections," and the private remembrance by staff of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was covered primarily by Washington DC television stations on their web sites that cover "local" news. Such a terror attack of hate is no longer viewed as "national" news.
In addition to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's private event, the USHMM has also urged citizens to make a donation to the Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program Endowment Fund, and it has posted a web link to some of the comments by Americans over the past year about the attack and the murder of Stephen Tyrone Johns. We applaud their efforts to remember.
In terms of public activism, however, we believe that American citizens also have an obligation to do their part, in remembering this terrorist attack. We are holding a public event to remember the event. We also urge those who seek to express their commitment to challenging hate to share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will share your statements on our web site.
On Sunday, June 13 at 2 PM, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) is hosting a public remembrance in Washington DC of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum attack and the murder of Stephen Tyrone Johns. We have invited the public to join us in this public remembrance, and to share their testimonies of the need to promote tolerance, dignity, respect, and equality for our fellow human beings.
We will hold this public remembrance at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC, near where Martin Luther King, Jr. worked on his speech "I Have A Dream." We too, have a dream, of human dignity, of human rights, and of equality and liberty - not just for all American, but also for all human beings. We have a dream of our fellow human beings united to be responsible for equality and liberty.
But we know that we cannot begin to make that dream a reality without defying and denying the cancerous growth of hatred in our nation, in our society, and around the world.
On June 13, when we publicly remember the terrorist attack on the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Museum, our united message will be
"Never Again to Hate."
Choose Love, Not Hate. Love Wins.
June 13 - "Never Again" to Hate Public Remembrance
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)
On Sunday June 13, 2010, at 2 PM, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) invites Washingtonians to a public event to remember the June 10, 2009 attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and to remember the loss of Stephen Tyrone Johns. Choose love, not hate.
We will recall the attack by white supremacist and Holocaust denier James Von Brunn on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009, and urge our fellow American to commit to "never again" to such hate and violence. (Flier for distribution: Microsoft Word format flier 1, Adobe Acrobat format flier 1, Word format flier 2, Adobe Acrobat format flier 2).
We will meet at the Freedom Plaza in Washington DC, near where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked on his speech "I Have a Dream," and will stand united in our diverse religions, ethnicity, and races. We will stand united for equality. We will also say "Never Again" to hate.
We will remember black security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns who was shot to death on June 10, 2009 while on duty defending a museum that stands in remembrance to the Holocaust. We vow that his death will not be in vain, but that such sacrifices will remind us of the need to be ever-vigilant and defiant against the forces of hate that seek to spread in Washington DC and throughout America.
As those who promote hate seek to create ever-increasing numbers of hate groups in America, our message to them is that America will never retreat on hate. But we don't answer hate with hate. Instead of an upraised fist, we offer outstretched hands and hearts to those who do hate, to urge them to release the burden of hate from their hearts, and join us in defending the universal human rights and dignity of all people.
We urge all - Choose Love, Not Hate. Love Wins.
We also urge all to make a gift to the USHMM Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program Endowment Fund.
-- Date: Sunday, June 13, 2010
-- Time: 2 to 4 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time
-- Location: Freedom Plaza, Washington DC, 20004 - on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 13th and 14th Streets NW
-- Contact: Jeffrey Imm, email@example.com, 301-613-8789
The Freedom Plaza in Washington DC is named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who worked on his "I Have a Dream" speech in the nearby Willard Hotel. In 1988, a time capsule containing a Bible, a robe, and other relics of King's was planted at the site.
Map Showing Location of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC
Street Level Photographic View of Freedom Plaza Area
-- Washington DC Metro Subway Stop:
Metro Center (Central Station - for Red, Blue, Orange Lines)
--- Washington DC Metro Subway Planner Tool
Walking Directions for Metro Center Subway:
-- Metro Center Metro Station to Pennsylvania Ave NW & 14th St NW:
1. Exit station through 13TH ST NW & G ST NW entrance.
2. Walk approx. 1 block S on 13th St NW.
3. Turn right on Pennsylvania Ave NW.
4. Walk approx. 1 block W on Pennsylvania Ave NW.
-- Parking lots: the nearby
National Theater reports the following parking lot areas include:
--- 1220 E Street, NW - Enter on E Street between 12th and 13th Streets
--- 424 11th Street, NW
--- 1325 G Street, NW - Enter on G Street between 13th and 14th Streets
-- QUICK PARK
--- 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - Enter on 13th Street between E and F Streets
-- Freedom Plaza is an open air plaza which is in front of The National Theater, whose address is 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004. Directions to Freedom Plaza are essentially not much different than going to the front of the National Theater (National Theater driving directions, street map of area, parking directions, Metro directions).