State Senator Toni Boucher’s Comments on Charlottesville Violence

August 15, 2017

The events in Charlottesville over the weekend both saddened and angered me. It has been difficult to process those violent images.

My aunt and grandparents and two first cousins were left behind in Italy on our farm during the second World War. The German soldiers came through and devastated the farm. They terrorized my family, killed their livestock, and destroyed their home.

Thankfully, American soldiers came through and repaired as much as they could. My family has loved and been grateful to America and the liberty, freedom, and tolerance it represents ever since.

I never thought I would see Nazis marching in the streets of America in my, my children’s, and now my grandchildren’s lifetime. It has shaken me to the core.

I am proud to say that Connecticut has a long history of civil activism and the creation of organizations that have been key players in creating an America that promotes and defends freedom, liberty, and the civil rights of all people. Connecticut is called the constitution state because it proclaimed in 1639 that the colony would be a government by the free will of its people and not the King of England. This was a very courageous thing to do at that time.

Connecticut and its people were pivotal in eradicating slavery and promoting civil rights throughout the centuries. In a unanimous and bipartisan fashion this year, the General Assembly passed one of the strongest hate crimes laws in the country. This law will protect all citizens of our state no matter their religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, or nationality.

Unfortunately, Connecticut also has been home to some extremist groups during its history, but groups whose beliefs are intolerant and contrary to normal human sensibilities have not flourished here. Any group that professes hate, bigotry, exclusion, and violence should never be tolerated in our state or our country. I would put on notice those who would do harm in any way because of their prejudiced beliefs. Connecticut can and will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. We have zero tolerance- period.