It's been a week since the shooting in Orlando. Let's reflect and look at how we can fight hatred here at home in Louisiana.
The attack in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history, was inspired by hate. It was a flagrant disregard for each individual’s humanity and uniqueness, and it was a saddening embrace of bigotry and evil. These evils are not found in Orlando alone. In fact, in Capitols across the nation year after year, Legislation inspired by the same hatred & bigotry are being filed. In Louisiana, last year's so called “Religious Freedom Bill” and this year’s “Pastor Protection Act” sought to divide not unite - to spread discrimination and hate rather than unity and love. There is a constant and eternal struggle between right and wrong. Bills that seek to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation are wrong - wrong for people, who are called to be instruments of peace - wrong for the economy - wrong for Louisiana.
I am proud that we stood together against these bills and that, as a result, both failed.
We, in New Orleans and across Louisiana, must continue to lead. We recognize that a healthy economy is a diverse economy and that our acceptance and recognition of the humanity and uniqueness of every individual creates an ongoing opportunity to be a beacon of hope across the South and the nation. While we pray for the victims and their families and unite in our mourning - let us pray for elected leaders and remind them that darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.
(Excerpt from Speech Rep. Leger delivered to the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce on June 14, 2016.)