I’ve been a board member of our Laguna Beach Beautification Council, and very vocal supporter of pocket parks, trees, green spaces…all things to beautify our city. I’ve been on committees to publicize such events. I believe in what we stand for.
I also believe we must stand up and be counted when confronted by evil.
I was a counter protester at this white supremacist event. I know firsthand. Although filled with trepidation, I needed to follow my conscience since many family members were slaughtered in the Holocaust, and many gay people I love have been reviled, and others have had their civil rights revoked, and African American and Muslim friends in Paris have cancelled trips to visit Laguna Beach.
On behalf of the counter protestors, I felt safe and protected. We all were nonviolent, we all stood up to the white supremacists. The Sheriff’s Department officers were thoughtful and did not permit the white supremacists to invade our spaces. There were many of us protesting. Nazis only understand numbers. I was proud to call Laguna my home, and say “no” to hatred, with my presence at this rally.
Yes, the unity rally (the day before) I assume was successful.
But the greater success belongs to the counter protestors. We made our numbers heard.
It is our responsibility to say “no” to hatred in any peaceful way we choose. We broke no laws.
Thank you to all who helped keep us safe as we expressed our First Amendment rights.
Mr. Pietig, Mayor Iseman, Chief Farinella , esteemed Councilmembers…you kept us safe. You did a splendid job by mobilizing your resources.
Because of your protection and your vast knowledge, you kept the calm as we counter protested. I read about this in newspapers, even the NY Times, which praised our city management. What if no one from our city showed up?
And saying “no” to hatred, something of significance, also embodies “beautifying our city.” We do it also in other ways, not merely planting trees.
Thank you from all of the counter protestors. You protected our First Amendment rights.
Jahn Levitt, Laguna Beach