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Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

Call for Unity Rally
July 12, 2017

A year ago, at the Democratic National Convention, I stood with 10,000 other people, mesmerized and moved by a speaker who is our honored guest today, Mr. Khizr Khan.

Mr. Khan, with his wife Ghazala at his side, spoke passionately and bravely as a protector of our Constitution on behalf of the Muslim community, immigrants, military families, and all Americans. His powerful words that day sparked in me my own family’s story.

In 1908, a young man boarded a ship with less than a dollar in his pocket, speaking not a word of English. What he brought with him was a suitcase filled with hope and courage. That 18 year old man was my grandfather, David Kamenetz.

I would not be here today if the United States of America had not welcomed this young man and embraced his potential.

President Trump, from his first day in office, has engaged in a reign of terror against immigrants and communities that are protecting their rights. As a result, hate is on the rise and people are scared.

Sadly, we have even seen it here in Maryland.

A woman finds a rock flung through her window with a message that read “Go Home.” People are afraid to take their kids to school, go to the emergency room, or report domestic violence—all because they fear they might be turned in to immigration officials.

In Baltimore County, we are standing up to those who seek to divide us. The true measure of a government is how we treat people who are the most vulnerable.

That is why in April, I signed my executive order stating that no county employee, including our police officers, can discriminate because of someone’s immigration status. No one can be detained in our jail beyond their release date, without a court order.

I did this because government leaders have an obligation to stand up for all faiths and all cultures. I did this to reject baseless hatred and bigotry. I did this because it is the right thing to do.

Last week, we as a nation celebrated 241 years since our country’s declaration of independence from a government’s tyranny. We celebrated our commitment to uphold the basic rights of people. Tonight, I ask you to join me in recommitting to the values our founding fathers treasured.

In 1776, Thomas Paine envisioned this new country as a refuge for the “persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty.” Now is the time for us to come together and fight for the principles we share.

Together we can fight—and defeat—fear.

Thank you, Khizr Khan, for inspiring our country and honoring us with your support.

 
Revised August 25, 2017         

 

Contact

County Executive,
Kevin Kamenetz
Phone: 410-887-2450

Contact the County Executive.

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