Madison DMV Move: An Update

Back in October, I wrote about how the Madison DMV’s move to 8417 Excelsior Blvd could impact voting rights. Since then, others have been raising the issue as well.

At the October 26 meeting of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, they considered a resolution to call for suspension of the voter ID law, in light of surveys, by the Dane County Clerk and UW Madison, showing that voters had been disenfranchised by the voter ID law — whether by not having viable ID, or by thinking they didn’t have viable ID.

At the meeting, members of Indivisible Madison and the League of Women Voters spoke in favor of the resolution, and mentioned the DMV move. Al Matano, one of the county supervisors (coincidentally my own), mentioned that the issue would be brought up at the next meeting of the Transportation Planning Board, which he also chairs.

On November 15, the TPB sent a letter of complaint to the DOT, questioning the need for the move and the planned location. Rebecca Kemble, a city alder, is also working on a federal civil rights complaint about the issue.

Meanwhile, I had filed an Open Records Request, for any information the DOT had about how they selected the new location. After some initial miscommunication, on November 1, they sent me a DVD with about 200 emails and scanned documents. With some help from a member of LWV Dane County, we’ve been sorting through them, looking for what the process was, and where public transit access got lost.

Are you ready for the intricacies of state bureaucracy?

Act I: Writing the Request For Proposal

In August 2016, DOT employees put together a Request For Proposal document. It’s something that says what you’re shopping for, and how you’re going to decide what to buy. Once you publish it, it’s up to vendors to come to you, with offers that meet your criteria.

The RFP, eventually published on November 7, did list public transit accessibility as one of it’s criteria…somewhat. One of the strict criteria was “access to public modes of transportation, preferably a city or regional bus line, with stops several times a day.” Locations were also going to be given a score, in which public transit service would account for 3% of the total points. Three percent isn’t a lot, and it’s less than similar RFPs had allotted for that category.

In terms of location, the RFP requested the “West/Southwest side of City of Madison”, and included a map with a polygon roughly encompassing that area.

The draft RFP then went to Department of Administration for review. According to emails from the DOA point-person, DOT staff were resistant to the idea of including a map, and wanted to phrase the geographical requirement vaguely, so as to include areas like Fitchburg or Middleton.

DOA pressed them to include a perimeter. As of October 4, TPB provided a map showing areas with frequent bus service. The map ultimately included in the RFP mirrors the outer edges of that bus service map, but doesn’t take into account the fact that there as gaps in bus service within that perimeter.

Nevertheless, bus service was a consideration written into the Request For Proposal. In theory, if the process described in the RFP had been followed, bus service would have been a requirement for any potential location, and frequency of bus service would have been a differentiator.

Act II: The Request For Proposal Fails

According to the RFP, proposals were due on December 21, 2016. At that time, they had only received one proposal. It was from a developer offering to build a brand new building on Novation Way, at a cost that DOT didn’t consider serious.

They thought the lack of proposals was because they had been looking for a building to rent as of April 2018 (18 months out at that point). On March 14, 2017, they published a revised RFP with a move-in date of this December (9 months out). They expected responses by early May.

In May, they had gotten exactly one response, from the same developer as before.

DOA had also told them that they could skip the whole RFP process if they were looking for a space smaller than 10,000 square feet. The initial request had been for more than that, but the DOT started making compromises to figure out how they could fit into a smaller space.

On May 4, the DOT requested a waiver, and included a list of 11 properties found on a site called Loopnet, claiming that those met all DMV requirements. From a public transit perspective, some of them might have, but many did not.

DOA approved the waiver on June 1, based on the reduced square footage required. But DOA said they were also allowed to look at properties larger than 10,000 square feet. Their DOA point of contact would assemble a list of candidates using “on-line resources and personal contacts in commercial real estate.” And DOA described the RFP criteria as a “wish list” that DOT could negotiate down from.

Act III: Narrowing the Field

DOT started with that list of 11 properties and another list off Loopnet, and started narrowing it down. Somehow those 20 or so became 8, without explanation in the records provided. That excluded some buildings that have frequent bus service, like offices on Science Drive, and retail spaces on Beltline Frontage Road and on Verona Road.

The “elite eight” became the “final four,” and on June 14, a team from DOT toured those properties:

  • The Globe University building on Deming Way
  • The Excelsior Drive building
  • A building on the Zor Shrine property
  • Two strip mall units along Whitney Way (probably the former Copps and Guitar Center)

After the tour, Deming was the first choice, and Whitney and Zor were a distant third and fourth, which made Excelsior second by default.

“For most customers in these counties [western Dane, Iowa, Sauk, Columbia, Lafayette, Green], the Globe University location is closer than the current office and would be equal to or closer than the Whitney location.”

Deming Way was seen as convenient from the Beltline, and close to a bus terminus at Greenway Station. There were questions about putting the Madison West DMV in Middleton, and whether there would be enough parking once the entire Globe building was rented out. But as of June 20, DOT leadership wanted to go forward with Deming Way, and only resort to Excelsior Drive if it fell through.

A junior DOT employee did point out that the Whitney Way location was closer to the locations being replaced, and more convenient for public transportation, but was overruled, for these reasons:

  • There might not be enough parking when it’s shared with other businesses (yes, that’s the same concern they had about the Globe building).
  • The parking lot was not in great shape.
  • DOT had rented from the owner of the Whitney Way property before, and had a negative experience.
  • The area around Whitney Way was not seen as conducive to driver testing.

A side by side comparison chart of the top three options was put together, and it did reflect that Excelsior Drive had insufficient bus service. But that was not considered a disqualifier compared to these concerns about Whitney Way, nor a reason to dip back into the well.

Act IV: The Surprise Twist

Something must have fell through with the Deming Way property, sometime between June 21 and July 10. Whatever it was, it didn’t appear in the records I received. Maybe it was the Middleton address. Maybe it was the parking concerns. All I know is that by July 10, they were negotiating the lease with the owner of the Excelsior Drive property, and didn’t consider evaluating other options.

On July 14, there is record of a DOT employee proposing a publicity campaign to promote the move, since “it’s not visible from main road, it’s an area not well known.” I don’t know if that ever came together. The move was communicated to staff on August 11, and the memo included a link to a news story about it, meaning that the press knew first.


While this new DMV location may disenfranchise voters, there isn’t any indication that was anyone’s intent. But it does seem like it was never a primary concern in the first place. And when the relatively objective RFP process went out the window, it became a “wish list” item.

I wonder what would have happened if DOT had stuck to the RFP process. I wonder what would have happened if the proactively selected locations had been scored according to the RFP criteria, rather than subjectively ranked. The Excelsior Drive location was a distant second choice; I wonder how distant it would’ve had to have been, to prompt DOT to do another internet search when their first choice fell through. I wonder how often the RFP process actually works, and how often it gets waived.

Maybe there’s something our state legislators can do, to ensure that this process yields a better result next time, and make access to voting rights a primary criterion for its gatekeepers.

It sure was exciting to submit my first Open Records Request and actually get it filled! So next time you wonder about something like this, try it out. For example, who ordered and carried out the removal of climate change language from the WI DNR website? Any ordinary citizen can check how our government agencies are operating.

For members of the press or other folks interested in the full Open Records data, get in touch with me on Twitter: @IndivisibleMad

CHIP Still at Risk

While this Republican administration Congress pull us in many different dangerous directions on a daily basis, I’m going to stick with what I know best: healthcare. As you may now, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire by the end of September 2017. CHIP provides federal healthcare funding for millions of low and middle-income American children, including over 180,000 in Wisconsin alone. Unfortunately, members of Congress have repeatedly provided only short-term extensions. While in the past there has been bipartisan support for CHIP, in the current political environment that may not end up being the case.

From Hurricane Harvey, to Russia, to North Korea, to our President’s approval of neo-nazis and white supremacists, the media has their hands full and I’m concerned that this lack of focus could lead to a lack of awareness.

I strongly encourage all Americans to remain active in contacting their members ofn Congress to ensure continued support for this incredibly important program. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for Congress to pass at least a 5-year funding bill for CHIP.  With recent statements from President Trump threatening to shut down the government because he cannot get funding for his wall, this becomes all that much more important. Lives are at stake if children cannot receive appropriate health insurance.  

On a positive note, it was fantastic to see a number of Senate Republicans stand up for their constituents against President Trump’s desire to take away health insurance from millions. Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Arizona) stood against their party and their President to protect health insurance and for a time avoid forcing the dangerous collapse of ObamaCare. In addition to these individuals, red state Democrats including Senators Joe Manchin III (West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Jon Tester (Montana), Claire McCaskill (Missouri) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana) stood strong for their constituents against the Senate TrumpCare legislation. I hope in the future Congressional Senators and Representatives will work together to improve our healthcare system, instead of trying to make it harder for individuals to obtain health insurance based upon partisanship fights.

A Late Budget Ain’t a Polished Budget

The Wisconsin Assembly passed a budget over two months late, and the delay hasn’t made it any less of a rush job.

Fill in the Blanks

The budget restricts towns’ ability to regulate gravel mines, with stunningly sloppy language like this:

Create a provision … to prohibit a political subdivision .. from enforcing an ordinance if any of the following applies: (a) a statutory provision expressly prohibits the political subdivision from enforcing the ordinance; (b) the ordinance logically conflicts with a statutory provision; (c) the ordinance defeats the purpose of a statutory provision; or (d) the ordinance violates the spirit of a statutory provision.

Clearly, the Joint Finance Committee couldn’t be bothered to actually write out their legislation. Instead, they expect municipalities to imagine what the committee members would have written.

No Gas Tax, Just a No-Gas Tax

Rather than taxing fossil fuel consumption, which could have addressed the deficit and the environment with one stone, the committee approved a fee for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong, there will come a time when non-polluting vehicles need to support more road maintenance. Just like there will come a time when houses with solar panels will need to support the grid. But we aren’t there yet, and we need to incentivize ways that people can use less combustible fuel. Roads right now aren’t buckling under Priuses, they’re buckling under eighteen-wheelers.

Bike Paths Are Not Coming For Your Land

The budget also included prohibitions against towns seizing or condemning land to construct bike trails. Conservative groups touted this as a win for property owners.

But the property right this defends is the right to have your property depreciate. I haven’t been able to find any evidence of municipalities abusing their current options. If they did, the state could have a more direct, contiguous bike network.

For example, the trail that ought to connect Madison to Milwaukee ends abruptly a few miles short in Cottage Grove due to private property in the way. These issues sometimes get solved by routing a path the long way around, at greater expense and inconvenience to the community. Take the Oregon Rotary Trail for instance, which traces three sides of a rectangle around someone’s property.

And whatever your views are on whether cities should have the right to seize land for infrastructure projects, it’s not right to prohibit it when it comes to bike paths while still allowing it for roads. Bike paths can accommodate more people at less cost, with environmental and health benefits. And they take less of your land to build.

If 3 Billion Dollars Didn’t Scare You…

By now, anyone following Wisconsin politics probably has some opinion about whether the state should be handing out $3,000,000,000 to a Taiwanese corporation for the promise of some jobs. If you support the plan, you’ll probably say “It’s going to be 13,000 jobs!” If you’re not a supporter, you might point out that the number Foxconn promised is closer to 3000.

My take on the hand-out, in brief, is that putting $3 billion on one horse is irresponsible. We could more effectively grow our economy by investing in the university system to draw talent to the state; people who will start businesses or bolster the companies that might create jobs.

As Steven Verburg points out, once the $3 billion has been paid out and thousands are working there, the state will have that much less leverage when it comes to enforcing air and water quality standards for the 25 years it will take for the state to see a net return on that money.

That’s assuming that we’ll have a DNR inclined to enforce environmental standards. Cathy Stepp recently left her position at the DNR (with a lax record of allowing manure from CAFOs into the water supply) to join the EPA, with the likely goal of making that agency less effective. In the short term, Scott Walker will get to appoint someone even less qualified.

Yet, there’s more to the Foxconn package that makes it even worse.

Before we get to the bizarre things that have been tacked on, we need to be familiar with Wisconsin’s judiciary hierarchy:

Wisconsin State Judiciary
Circuit Court: 249 judges, with jurisdiction by county (mostly)
Court of Appeals: 16 judges, with jurisdiction by district (1/4 of the state)
Supreme Court: 7 justices, with statewide jurisdiction
All publicly elected.

The Right to “Super-Appeal”

A prevision was just added to the Foxconn incentive bill to allow Foxconn to appeal any lawsuit directly to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, skipping the Court of Appeals.
This exclusive right to “super-appeal” also puts a stay on the lower court’s ruling. That means even if the Circuit Court decided against Foxconn, they don’t have to comply unless the Supreme Court takes the case and rules against them. This puts the burden on the Supreme Court to reinforce any Circuit Court rulings against Foxconn.

A specific corporation will be explicitly named in law as having rights above and beyond any other Wisconsin companies or any of Wisconsin’s human beings. This is not normal.

We don’t know yet what the Wisconsin Supreme Court thinks of having their docket be determined by Foxconn. But we do know the Wisconsin Supreme Court no longer make their deliberations public. Nor to the the publicly-elected justices recuse themselves when a case involves a campaign donor.

In other words, the highest court in the state is up for bid. Foxconn has a free pass to skip the lower courts, giving them extraordinary power. If a citizen, another company, or perhaps even the state of Wisconsin itself ends up in court against Foxconn, they’ve probably already lost.

Here’s how it plays out: let’s say Foxconn takes billions of gallons of water from Lake Michigan and dumps it back in with all sorts of chemicals added. Maybe the DNR sues. A circuit court judge tells Foxconn to stop. Foxconn appeals, and gets to keep doing what they want while waiting for the Supreme Court to take the case.

And, maybe this isn’t Foxconn’s first appeal. Maybe they’ve filled up the Supreme Court’s docket for the next several years. Or maybe the justices handle the extra caseload by changing their rules, so that they don’t need to have in-person hearings and deliberation, they can just submit their verdict and move on.
Yup. That’s a broken system.

That’s why we need to make it clear to our representatives and state senators, our neighbors, and our media that this provision threatens the independence of each branch of government.That’s not a partisan concern.

And this underlines the importance of the Supreme Court elections. Tim Burns and Rebecca Dallet have already announced their candidacy for the next election.
We need to pay attention to lower court elections as well — in the Court of Appeals, Dane County is grouped with everything west of Dodge and south of Clark County. And Dane County alone has 17 elected circuit court justices. If you search news for Dane County Circuit Court, you can get a sense of the issues they rule on and how consequential their decisions are.

Funding Obamacare Exchange Subsidies

by Paul Martorell

It’s time for President Trump to commit to making the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) through 2017. These payments reimburse insurance companies for making premiums affordable for millions enrolled in Obamacare exchanges. So far his administration has only committed to the CSR subsidy payments on a month-to-month basis. Insurance companies are leaving markets because of this uncertainty, such as in Wisconsin (“Molina to drop out of Wisconsin’s Obamacare marketplace,” Aug 2).

After the Obamacare repeal failed, Trump threatened to stop funding the CSR subsidies altogether, which are not “bailouts to insurance companies” but a way for low to middle-income Americans – including a member of my family – to get health care.

This is why, as long as Obamacare is still running, leaders from both parties are imploring the administration to fund these CSR subsidies. A bipartisan group of 40 House lawmakers called the “Problem Solver’s Caucus” released a plan that, among other pieces, mandates sufficient CSR funding. The National Governor’s Association issued a statement reading “It is critically important to provide insurers and states with certainty that CSRs will be funded.” By threatening CSR funding, President Trump is jeopardizing the lives of millions of his fellow Americans.


It’s Not About the Money

It’s easy to call the current Foxconn agreement a ‘bad deal’ because, most certainly, it is. The bill that passed the Wisconsin Assembly sets up over $2.85 billion in state tax credits over the next 15 years, exemptions from sales taxes, and environmental waivers.

The deal’s proponents have pointed out that if it were to fall through, it would make whichever state that does manage to make an agreement with Foxconn very happy. This is undeniable but it’s indicative of the real problem. When elected officials treat our state government as just another player in the market rather than the voice of the people, we end up with an economy without safeguards. Such an economy quickly becomes a race to the bottom, with states fighting over how much of their tax revenue and how many of their environmental protections they can give away just for the privilege of housing an employer. The problem with races to the bottom? You might win.

The temptation is to continue calling this a “bad deal,” but I don’t think that tells the whole story. For me, the issue is bigger than the money saved, or not saved, by taxpayers. It’s not about a good or bad deal, but the role of government in general. More than a government that is simply efficient or that saves me money, I want a government that protects the people and environment of Wisconsin. To call it a deal suggests that the Wisconsin state government is just another business out to make a profit or cut costs. But that is not what our government is (or, at least, that’s not what our government should be).

The Wisconsin State Assembly (who passed the agreement) and the office of the governor (who constructed the agreement) were built to enact the will of the people of our state. And, in that regard, it is not they who make deals, but we who make rules – rules to protect the safety and interests of Wisconsin citizens. In terms of a deal between two financial entities, sure, the deal is ‘bad’. But in terms of an agreement designed to protect Wisconsin, this bill is a colossal failure and a complete perversion of the role of government.

Further, to call it a ‘bad deal’ assumes that the agreement’s proponents didn’t get what they wanted. It’s tempting to criticize Governor Walker, and his allies in the Assembly, on their own terms: to say that if they ‘were really a conservative’ they wouldn’t have resorted to ‘corporate welfare’ or ‘tried to pick winners and losers in the market.’ But, again, I’m not so sure that’s the whole story. Maybe the ‘bad deal’ they’ve made serves their ends perfectly well: By waiving environmental regulations and providing Foxconn with a massive tax cut, the agreement increases the burden on the state’s infrastructure while removing the tax revenue necessary to maintain it. This guarantees further budget shortfalls and other financial dysfunction and makes it easier for ideologues to justify a weaker government, one incapable of meeting the needs of its citizens.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve called it a deal in the past and you’ll probably catch me calling it a deal in the future; it’s an intuitive way to understand and talk about what’s happening. But it’s important to remember that, as progressives, we do have a broader vision for our society, one that includes building a robust and responsive government accountable to its constituents, capable of protecting the people and their interests, and that ensures prosperity for all.

History Lives

It’s my last week of work as a Senior Care Resident Coordinator, and with recent national events I’ve found myself doing a lot of reflecting on my 9 year journey in senior living. We need only turn to our seniors to know that history is still alive and to learn the real stories of what the past was like. Working in Chicago and the surrounding area, I’ve had a wide range of people I’ve cared for and bonded with.

I remember the man with the number tattooed on his forearm who, 70 years later, still had night terrors from the Holocaust. One of my favorite residents would tell us about her time in a Japanese internment camp when she was a child. I had another resident who grew up Black in rural Indiana in the 40’s. Her family lived in constant fear of the KKK. She would sometimes hallucinate from her condition that they were still coming for her. The threat was illusory, but her terror was so real. I wonder what they would think to see these groups that terrorized their families on TV, having rallies, spewing their hate. It breaks my heart knowing some of my residents worked their whole lives for a better world.

That is why I feel the urge to pick up where they left off and continue doing what I can. Sometimes that can be as simple as being nice to someone who frustrates me, assuming the best intentions, or having conversations I don’t want to have. That’s why you’ll see pictures of me at rallies, doing voter registration, and just being a general nerdy weirdo (my residents have also taught me to enjoy life and be myself). History isn’t an abstract page in a book; it’s people I’ve cared for with my own two hands. It’s real people’s lives, and it cannot be allowed to repeat. So do something, do anything. Just know that what you do (or don’t do) matters.

Featured image by Ingrid Laas

Are You Outraged Yet?

I just watched portions of today’s press conference with The D. He continues to defend the actions of the white supremacists who brought their vile message of hate to Charlottesville last weekend. It is revolting.

This is not my President.

I will stand with Charlottesville’s counter-protesters that risked their lives. I will stand against hate and intolerance along with my immigrant, LGBTQ, Jewish, Hispanic, Black and Muslim friends, family members and colleagues. I will not turn my head aside and silently accept this kind of world for my beautiful Hispanic grand daughters.

Yet, I (and most of my colleagues and friends) live in a cocoon of white, middle-class privilege. Many of us feel powerless to make a difference. Today, a co-worker asked “What can I do?” After pondering this much of the day, here is my suggested starter kit for white, middle-class, fledgling activists:

Recognize and acknowledge the presence and power of white privilege. Read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh or “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person…” by Gina Crosley-Corcoran if you want to learn more.

Be self-aware.Take a close look at your own implicit biases – we all have them because we are human. Be more aware of the lens you use to view the world and where that lens may be ‘cracked’.

Pay attention to everyday micro and macro aggressions towards yourself and others. It is likely that you have people in your life that exhibit their own implicit (or explicit) biases in unkind, thoughtless or hurtful ways.

Get out of your comfort zone to challenge inappropriate or hurtful comments or other micro-aggressions that you encounter. Call out the sexist or homophobic joke, the racist reference, or the casual nasty remark about a woman’s body.

Find your voice and find your power. Power is the ability to effect change, in yourself and others. You are not powerless.

Get involved. Volunteer in a homeless shelter, tutor someone, attend a march, organize a fundraiser, volunteer for a political candidate, write a blog, donate money, join a group that is focused on resistance. But …DO something.

Be brave. By taking a stand, you will risk ridicule and risk being misunderstood. Yet, your best and most authentic self will stand up for what you know to be right, even when it is not easy. Try being brave in small ways first; you may just surprise yourself!

Finally, be kind. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Courtesy of Paula Riesch is a member of Indivisible Madison and a frequent contributor to the IM newsletter and website.

A Prayer for the Fallen and Injured

The following is the statement Rabbi Jonathan Biatch delivered at Madison’s Candlelight Vigil in Solidarity with Charlottesville on Sunday, August 13, 2017. He was speaking on behalf of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice.

Good evening, my friends,

I am Jonathan Biatch, Rabbi of Temple Beth El here in Madison, and I am deeply pained by the reason we gather here tonight. I represent an organization called Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. Yet our voices are, at this moment, silenced by the shock and sadness that pervades this nation because of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Va.

A sacred text of my tradition reminds me that ‘although we are not required to complete the work, we are still compelled to be engaged in it.’ [Pirkei Avot 2:21]. So, here we gather once again, in this case to mourn and to seek catharsis by our presence, but also to rededicate ourselves to the ongoing work of realizing the true American values of equality and justice and peace that give our nation its unique place in the world.

On this occasion, I cannot think about anything other than fire. According to the folklore of my tradition, fire was the first of humanity’s creations. It happened just at the end of that first week in the book of Genesis’ account of God’s creating the world. Yet after creating fire, Adam and Eve discovered that they were afraid of it, and our legends tell us that God demonstrated to them how best to employ those flames which, we know, can be used for good purposes or for ill. We saw this past Friday night, one of the more purposeless and destructive uses of fire. White supremacist marchers used torches to light up the city of Charlottesville in support of their cause.

And I realized that it may have always been thus: For I recalled that these same kinds of torches were employed by Nazi troops and sympathizers during WWII, during their pro-Aryan and anti-Semitic rallies. As I witnessed this terror-filled apparition in Virginia, I realized that we have regressed as a nation and a world, that we have not learned from our past.

Yet we gather here in the same spirit of those concerned citizens, the progressive Americans, and the many religious leaders who gathered in Charlottesville this weekend (and those who are gathering in countless American communities tonight) to confront bigotry and racism.
Our hearts are with the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia who want to redress and resolve the racism in their past. They, there – and we, here – are being challenged by bigots, racists, and anti-Semites who take many of their cues from the so-called leaders in the current presidential administration.

Do we even recognize our nation? Do we see in our fellow citizens our best aspirations, or our worst fears? Is there a way that the president can remove his moral blinders that have, so far, shielded him from the truth of the hatred in our nation? Can we ask him to call out racists, anti-Semites, and xenophobes who are antithetical to the true spirit of America? We all can do this. Why does he refuse?

Let us go forward from this place, tonight, to help our leaders understand the depth of our pain and anguish. Let us go forward from this place, tonight, to ask the president to lead without being forced, cajoled, or compelled, to offer denunciations of white supremacist groups who are anti-American and anti-human, not simply anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, or anti-LGBTQ.
Let us go forward from this place, tonight, propelled by our common humanity and sense of justice, so that when white supremacists dare to appear anywhere in our nation, they will be met with overwhelming numbers of counter-protesters to bring forth true American values, not fake values.

On this night, let us go forward and offer sympathies and condolences to all those whose lives have been hurt by these bigoted and hateful people, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Bloomington, Minnesota, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and others. And let us be certain to support them in whatever ways they require.

On this night, our sympathies are with the families of Heather Heyer, H. Jay Cullen, and Berke M.M. Bates, whose deaths did not have to occur were it not for the unforgivable acts of violence and terror perpetrated by the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville. Our sympathies are also with the wounded in yesterday’s events.

Please permit me to offer this prayer for those who were injured:

May the One who blessed our ancestors bless and heal those who are injured. May the Holy One of Blessing send them compassion, to restore them, to heal them, to strengthen them, to enliven them. May the One who is Blessed send them, speedily, a complete healing: healing of the soul and healing of the body, along with all the ill among all humankind.

And permit me to offer a prayer in memory of those who were killed:

May the One who blessed our ancestors send wholeness to the families of Heather Heyer, H. Jay Cullen, and Berke M.M. Bates, who now suffer at their losses. May God send them loved ones, family and friends, to comfort them and console them, so that they are not alone at this time of grief. And may their memories become blessings in this world.

May all innocent victims from yesterday’s events in Virginia, they and their families, know that good-hearted people from across the world stand with them and with their cause, that of discovering the true spirit of this country and its values of equality, justice, and peace.
I ask us to spend a few moments in silent prayer to remember those who have fallen, and those who will yet rise again in furtherance of these goals.

The struggle continues. May we be successful. Thank you and good night.