Brown seeks ideas on keeping Charlottesville from happening in Ohio

By Mary Schlanden, Columbus Dispatch

For ethnic and religious minorities, American culture hasn’t always been welcoming.

Earlier this month, they got a painful reminder when they turned on the televisions to see Klansmen and neo-Nazis marching in a torch-lit parade and chanting anti-Semitic slogans. Eventually one of their number ran his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one.

“I immediately thought about the 240 Holocaust survivors that we serve,” June Gutterman, CEO of Jewish Family Services of Columbus, said Friday. “I found myself asking, ‘What year is this?’”

Gutterman was participating in a roundtable at the Columbus Urban League. It was called by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to discuss how best to prevent another Charlottesville and other acts of domestic terror.

Brown said President Donald Trump’s lack of leadership in the wake of the deadly demonstrations only adds to the problem.

“I think that this is the first president that we’ve seen do the dog whistle — the wink and a nod — to Nazis and anti-Semites and some of the white supremacists,” Brown said.

Trump’s statements shifted from condemning the hate groups, to equivocating about them and back, Brown said. But former Ku Klux Klansman Grand Wizard David Duke was consistent in his praise for the president.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.