Mountain View Leaders Organize Equality and Diversity Rally

By Brian Huebner, Senior Writer

Hundreds of citizens from Mountain View and surrounding cities rallied to voice their concerns about recent violence from white supremacists and supporters of the “alt-right” at The Stand Up for Equality and Diversity Rally at the Mountain View Civic Center on Saturday, August 19.

The rally was organized by Mountain View Tomorrow and Mountain View Voice for Peace and Justice, organizations that work to inspire citizens to act peacefully against hate groups. The event aimed to rally citizens against violent actions and hate speech perpetrated by hate groups across the nation. The attendees also expressed anti-Trump sentiments, particularly about his comments about the recent violence in Charlottesville.

Organizers of the event enabled anyone to talk about equality and diversity in an open-forum. Speeches varied from personal experiences, opinions, poems to songs.

Mountain View Mayor Ken Rosenberg was one such speaker. He told the crowd about his background as a Jewish man and about seeing videos of the Charlottesville rally, where protesters chanted anti-semitic remarks.

“The racist, bigoted, people who are so filled with hate do not like me without knowing me because I was raised into a religion,” Rosenberg said in an interview. “And now those people are coming out and using the laws of our country to hate, to bring their ugliness — that’s why I’m emotional about this. Why hate?”

Mountain View Vice Mayor Lenny Siegel, a member of Mountain View Voice for Peace and Justice and the main organizer of the event, stressed that the rally was not intended as a response to the now postponed “alt-right” March on Google event that would have occurred at the same time, but to events happening to the country as a whole.

“I don’t think people are really focused on Google today,” Siegel said.“They’re focused on the fact that our president was rejecting tolerance… We call it the Rally of Equality and Diversity for a reason.”

Organization of the event was smooth and mostly trouble-free, Siegel said, crediting the Mountain View community’s thoughtfulness and sense of togetherness.

“People around here are looking always for ways to express themselves,” Siegel said. “Mountain View is a city that treasures diversity. That’s what makes us strong, politically, economically, culturally. People are giving up a few hours on a Sunday to say that.”

Siegel also stressed the importance of keeping momentum going even after the event has concluded.

“This is great, but this isn’t over,” Siegel said. “We’re in this for the long haul. Trump’s not going to disappear overnight. The Republican Party isn’t going to get rid of their policies overnight. We’ve got to organize. The idea is to plug the people who’ve showed up today — the people who’ve never been involved before —  into the groups who are doing the organizing. That’s it.”