New York State Bar Association President Sharon Stern Gerstman today issued the following statement in an e-blast to members of the Association:
Like you, I was sickened by the hatred and violence on display over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Like you, I was saddened by the death of a young woman and the injury to so many others.
However, I am also deeply disturbed by the number of Americans who have responded with a call to restrict free speech. In the words of Nadine Strossen, past president of the ACLU, and recipient of a Margaret Brent Woman of Achievement award on Sunday at the ABA meeting, "in times like this we need more speech, not less speech."
Restrictions on speech were used to keep men and women of color in shackles, both literal and figurative. Restrictions on speech were used to keep women out of the halls of power.
The answer to the hatred is not a restriction on free speech, but a call to each of us, particularly lawyers, to speak out against the hatred. Each American, especially our leaders, must condemn the hatred and shun those that spew it forth. I call on each of us to do so.
The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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