August 30, 1999 Vol. IV, No. 1

Speakers at the unity rally held on campus included CSUN Interim President Louanne Kennedy (second from left), the Rev. Zedar Broadous (third from left), Gov. Gray Davis (second from right), and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno (far right).

University Hosts Unity Rally for 2,000 After SFV Shootings

Campus Puts Community Service into Action, Working with Major Community Groups

Demonstrating the campus' commitment to community service, Cal State Northridge hosted a mid-August unity rally that attracted about 2,000 participants stressing tolerance and healing in the wake of hate-motivated shootings in the San Fernando Valley.

CSUN Interim President Louanne Kennedy delivered one of the opening speeches for the August 15 event, joining with Gov. Gray Davis, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to condemn the violence and urge community members to stand together for tolerance.

The rally was a response to the August 10 shootings of five people at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in nearby Granada Hills, and the fatal shooting later that day of postal worker Joseph Ileto in Chatsworth. White supremacist Buford Furrow Jr. has been charged with the crimes and allegedly has confessed to them.

CSUN hosted the rally at the request of the Jewish groups that organized the event, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, the Anti-Defamation League and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

"It is in times such as these, in the face of fear and the threat of violence, that friends, neighbors and people of goodwill must join hands in mutual support and solidarity," Kennedy said in announcing the event two days before. "As is our custom, we will reach out to our neighbors during this time of crisis."

In his speech at the rally, Gov. Davis (right) said, "There is no place on earth that is more diverse than California. Every country on the planet has people living in our society today. In a state this diverse, tolerance must not just be a buzzword. It should take its place right alongside the concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as essential parts of the American Dream."

The attorney general said bluntly, "We must confront hate. We must not back down. We must speak out against hatred and prejudice wherever we find itŠ We must all come together to build communities that are safer, stronger and more tolerant."

Mayor Riordan urged the crowd to applaud all of the public employees‹police, firefighters, paramedics and others, who had been dealing with the shootings and their aftermath. And the mayor added, "Together, we must and we will get beyond this dark moment."

The following are the remarks by President Kennedy:

"Honorable Governor, Madame Attorney General, Mr. Mayor, Distinguished Clergy and Guests.

Welcome and thank you for coming to California State University, Northridge today. We are here to mourn a terrible and tragic death, to pray for a speedy recovery for those who have been injured, and I sincerely hope, to redouble our efforts to fight bigotry and intolerance in society, wherever it exists.

When one of us is injured or attacked unjustly, we are all affected.

And we all have a duty to respond.

Martin Niemoller, a German pastor during the Nazi era, stated:

'First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. They then came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.¹

We are here today to speak for all of the members of our Los Angeles community. We will not be silenced in our commitment to speak out against all injustice and prejudice. We are here to help heal the wounds of this past week, promote tolerance and peace, and restore our hope and the promise of our community.

We in the San Fernando Valley are a diverse community, and also a vibrant and resilient one. This event today is a demonstration of our strength as a community. Our connections to one another are evident. That is the meaning of community, people with connections to each other.

Let me give you two examples of what I mean.

When postal worker Joseph Ileto was senselessly shot and killed, we at Cal State Northridge felt the pain of loss. Not only do we have many Filipino-American students on campus, but Mr. Ileto was the nephew of one of our University staff members.

And when the gunfire finally subsided at the North Valley Jewish Community Center, one of our own graduates, JCC summer drama teacher Doug Kayne, was there to help the youngsters, some of your children and friends, escape to safety.

In closing, let me add a personal thought: I believe a university is a fitting place for today's gathering. We are proud that our programs include Jewish Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Studies, Pan-African Studies and Armenian Studies, as well as others. We are here to provide the core intellectual understanding necessary for our new Los Angeles, a city that is a majority of minorities.

If we are to make progress is uniting our community and fighting intolerance, we must learn both about of the world around us and how to get along with others. Teaching those lessons to our young people is what we at Cal State Northridge are all about."

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August 30, 1999


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