Senator Pan Hosts Forum on Hate Speech and Its Effects on Society

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SACRAMENTO — More than a hundred people came out to the California Railroad Museum Wednesday to discuss how speech that seeks to exclude and inflame could lead to punishing national policies.

One example?

One presidential candidate’s stance on every Syrian refugee being refused entry into the U.S. because one could be a terrorist.

“Of course not. And to do it, that is to cave into hatred — just like what happened to those Jews on the Saint Louis. They knew they were sending them back to at least concentration camps,” said panelist Barry Broad, president of the Sacramento Jewish Federation.

Stopping fear, racism and the unknown from worming its way into this country’s laws was the focus of the forum, while the group debated how speech can become action on a grand scale.

It was hosted by Sen. Dr. Richard Pan.

Dave Harzoff from West Sacramento applauded the direction of the session, but was dismayed that it was “preaching to the choir” and those who might have needed to hear the message most weren’t in the room.

“The question was asked ‘How do you affect the people who aren’t concerned about it?’ And that’s a troubling issue,” he said.

Senator Pan is considering hosting other events like this to keep this topic alive in the community.