The malicious attack that occurred last November at Tysons Corner Mall, in which a man allegedly used anti-Muslim slurs and then bit another man in the face, is an appalling example of violent bigotry.
Rightfully so, the perpetrator recently was charged with a hate crime.
As McLean residents, we are upset and deeply concerned that this incident occurred in one of our neighborhood social hubs – a place where we shop, eat and socialize with our families.
Our sense of safety and community is in peril with this and other incidents of hate crimes in our region, such as the recent bomb threats against Jewish schools.
Intolerance and violence in the places where we live, work and learn diminishes our basic American values of dignity and respect for everyone. Virginia’s leaders must commit to counter this alarming trend.
Our leaders must speak out unequivocally and repeatedly against hate crimes that target members of our community, and immediately dedicate more resources toward investigating and prosecuting all suspected hate crimes.
For our part, we refuse to let any type of violence motivated by race, religion or ethnicity become part of our everyday lives and vow to support our neighbors who are being targeted and marginalized.
Kathryn McCormick, Lori Boerner, Alicia Plerhoples, Carla Post, Christine Sonu Park, Nadja Golding, McLean
The writers are members of Virginia Democracy Forward.