We beat them before. We'll beat them again.

What follows is a transcript of a speech given by one of our members, Bruce Hartford, at the Lights For Liberty vigil on Friday, July 12th, 2019. We’re humbled that he continues his decades of work with us, and grateful that he allowed us to publish his remarks here on our website.

Content warning: Quotes of racist, including antisemitic, statements.

In the 1960s I was a Civil Rights worker, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama and Mississippi.

We've all been here before.

Throughout U.S. history, we've fought against nativist, anti-immigrant racism/bigotry.

Throughout U.S. history, right-wing politicians like Trump and the Republican Party have used and fomented hatred, for their partisan gain.

Against Irish. Against Italians. Against Asians. Against Jews.

100 years ago, in 1919, they said:

The Jew comes from an inferior race degraded by corrupt blood. His heart
full of malice, his brain full of intrigues and tricks. His ideas invariably
turn by natural law to deceit, theft, and embezzling.

A sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin wrote at that time:

The Eastern European Hebrews feel no reverence for law as such and are
willing to break any ordinance they find in their way. Most alarming is the
great increase in criminality among Jewish young men and the growth of
prostitution among Jewish girls.

He was talking about my grandmother Rose Mutterperl—a Jew from Romania.
Yeah, my Granny.

Today, when Republicans say Mexicans are rapists and Hondurans drug-crazed
assassins, they are speaking from an old, old script.

In 1920, Republican politicians ran for office on anti-immigrant platforms
enflamed with racism, bigotry, hatred—and fear. They won. Just like Trump.

In 1921 & 1924, Republicans in Congress enacted immigration laws specifically
designed to block Chinese, Italian, and Jewish immigrants. In their words:

The purpose of the Act is to preserve the ideal of U.S.

Today we call it "White-Supremacy."

So be clear, be very clear. [Joe] Biden is wrong. Trump is NOT an aberration.
Trump is the logical and inevitable result of the alliance between racism and
corporate greed that are driving Republican politics. Trump is the symptom;
the disease is right-wing Republicanism just as it was 100 years ago.

So, yes, we as a people have been here before.

We stand here today on Market Street. For more than 100, years Market Street has
been the avenue of people marching for justice and freedom. Women’s suffrage.
World War I. 100,000 workers carrying their dead up Market Street during the
great General Strike of 1934. Civil Rights marches. Anti-Vietnam war marches.
Gay rights after the assassination of Harvey Milk. Women's March. Tax March.
Last week, Pride.

Yes, we have been here before, because We the People fought back. We the People repealed those racist immigration laws.

Which meant that I—a descendant of immigrants—was born into an America where these words still remained on the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

That is the America into which I was born.

That is the America we here today are fighting to restore.

We beat them before. We'll beat them again.