Biden calls on the country to unite against white supremacy at a summit on hate
President Biden will host a summit at the White House Thursday on combating hate-fueled violence.
The White House says the event, called the "United We Stand Summit," will gather experts and survivors and will include bipartisan local leaders. It will also honor communities who have been through hate-based attacks, including the mass shootings that took place at gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016, at a Walmart in El Paso in 2019, where the assailant said he was targeting Mexicans, and the expressly racist shooting that killed 10 Black people in a Buffalo supermarket Buffalo earlier this year.
The program will include remarks by Vice President Harris, a presentation on the state of hate-based violence in the United States and a conversation with a former neo-Nazi who has since disavowed the white supremacist movement.
Biden, who said he decided to run for president because of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., will also be giving remarks.
The summit pushes a message of "unity" which has been central to Biden's agenda in office — though some voters appear skeptical on whether Biden can accomplish the task.
The event also comes just weeks after Biden's speech in Philadelphia where he sent a warning message about how extremist Republicans are a threat to democracy.
"America must choose: to move forward or to move backwards. To build the future or obsess about the past. To be a nation of hope and unity and optimism, or a nation of fear, division, and of darkness," Biden said on Sept. 1.
"MAGA Republicans have made their choice," he added. "They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies."
White House officials, though, say the summit is not about political violence and that hate-based violence is an issue everyone should be able to agree on.
Senior administration officials say Biden will signal a message on Thursday that the country is more united than divided, and that threats posed by hate-based violence are real, increasing and must be taken seriously.
Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration's special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, told NPR in May that there's an increasing percentage of the American population who think America's identity is under threat.
"Whether they read it online, whether they hear it in the media, whether they hear it from certain politicians - but they believe it," she said. "People have to recognize that it's this panoply of hatreds that constitute this threat to our democracy and threat to our country and to national security and foreign countries as well."
In addition to the summit, the White House is announcing new actions from across the government that tackle hate-based violence as well as actions from tech companies like YouTube, Twitch, Microsoft and Meta.
"Every tech company should be thinking about what they can do," a senior administration official said.
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