Intolerance Ends in Violence - Again

My wife and I celebrated Capital Pride Festival in our nation's capital with many friends. Millions in cities across the land were doing the same this weekend. It was festive and fun with a focus on inclusion, love, equality, and understanding.

On Sunday the world woke up to learn of the unspeakable tragedy in Orlando and the festival took a decidedly somber tone. I can't stop thinking about this for many reasons. What makes this attack so immensely scary is that it sits at the intersection of three important and hot button topics - gun violence, terrorism and gay rights. The events at Pulse on Sunday morning are a horrible reminder that prejudice is a growing cancer on our society and it affects us all. This cancer is fed by ignorance and it is ultimately manifested in violent acts of intolerance.

Some of the collective wisdom on eliminating intolerance and understanding the root causes of prejudice are illustrated by several quotes below. I hope you find their message positively hopeful at a time of great pain for many.

"Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity." - Kofi Annan

"Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star." - Confucius

"Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice." - Michael Crichton

"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance." - Lyndon B Johnson

"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.", John F. Kennedy

"Intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

"It is never too late to give up our prejudices." - Henry David Thoreau

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." - Golda Meir

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass

"Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace." - His Holiness The Dalai Lama

"So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American -- regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation -- is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans." - President Obama