Good morning. I’m Thomas Nephew, and I’m one of several people working towards a Montgomery Civil Rights Coalition. We believe that we’re protecting civil rights and civil liberties everywhere by protecting them in our communities — where we can talk with friends and neighbors, councilmen and State Senators on a regular basis. So we’ve opposed the Metro bag search program — “it’s not just unconstitutional, it’s stupid!” — and we oppose the proposed county youth curfew, about which I think you can say the same thing.
We came together after an event about the dangers of increased FBI repression of political dissent here in the US — a new Cointelpro is happening all around us. And part of the insidious background to that — the atmosphere that helps repression grow like a fungus — is fearmongering and bigotry against whatever minority group or view comes handy. And part of how to push back against all of it is to stand together with your friends, old ones and new ones.
So here we are, working with Saqib to not just oppose but maybe even help cure the kind of fearmongering I think Fred Grandy engages in — with speech, with truth, and without fear.
We’ll hear next from two local organizers — and Muslim Americans — who have been part of a remarkable pushback in the last couple of months. Elizabeth Lakew is a remarkable high school student: Silver Chips reporter, President of the Young Democrats at Montgomery Blair High, and Secretary of the High School Democrats of Maryland. Guled Kassim is a former Marine and current radio talk show host — Kassim’s Corner! — who helped gather signatures from many of our area’s highest leaders to an open letter that unapologetically disapproved of Grandy’s divisive rhetoric. Elizabeth?