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In wake of Charlottesville, groups demand Gov. Snyder condemn Kalkaska official's remarks

Kaye LaFond
Michigan Radio

Religious groups and the ACLU are asking Governor Rick Snyder to show "moral leadership" in the face of emboldened hate groups in Michigan. 

The eight groups say the flames of hatred are already ablaze in Michigan, and President Trump's defense of racists in Charlottesville makes it urgent for Michigan's top elected leader to do more. 

Snyder issued a statement Tuesday that hate speech and violence are not welcome in Michigan. 

“History has shown time and again that hate begets hate and violence begets violence,” Snyder said. “On the other hand, unity and cooperation have shown how much we can accomplish when we respect our neighbors, embrace our differences and focus our energy on how we can all move forward and prosper together. Hate speech and violence are not welcome in Michigan – it’s not representative of who Michiganders truly are or of the future we want to build for our children.”

Kalkaska village president defends his controversial Facebookposts

But the groups want him to specifically condemn hate speech posted on Facebook by Kalkaska Village President Jeff Sieting– where Sieting called for the murder of Muslims and people involved in Black Lives Matter. 

“We call upon you specifically to condemn Kalkaska Village President Sieting's recent call for deaths to all Muslims and other minority groups,” the letter reads.  “Failure to do so is equivalent to silence.  Your silence implies something is wrong with Muslims and other minority groups, leading to possible internalization of this hate and fanning the flames of hatred already ablaze in our state.”

A request for comment from the governor’s office was not returned by press time.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.
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