Introduced to rousing applause, Gold Star family member Khizr Khan thanked the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, law enforcement and their families, and praised the work of civil rights leaders. He then passionately declared at a July 12 Call for Unity Rally in Towson, “Enough of division, enough of hate, enough of segregation. No more.”
Khan, father of a U.S. Army captain who died in 2004 while serving in Iraq, gained recognition when he took on then-candidate Donald Trump for talk of a Muslim ban and his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last year. Since then, Khan said he has made more than 128 appearances in support of American values and equality for all citizens. Khan, an attorney born in Pakistan, and his wife have had their civil rights suspended while living under two martial laws.
Dozens of county residents, elected officials and community, cultural and religious leaders turned out at Patriot Plaza to show support for diversity and immigrants and to reject discrimination. The program featured speakers from the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission, Commission for Women, Amigos of Baltimore County, Islamic Society of Baltimore, Bridge Maryland and clergy from multiple denominations. The event was co-hosted by the commission, and Danny Blount, a commission member and president of Hernwood Heights Association in Randallstown, served as emcee.
In his remarks, Khan also shared that the reason he decided to speak at the DNC Convention, against the advice of concerned family and friends, was because of children who were afraid they would not be able to finish school in the U.S. because they’d be deported.
“This is our calling regardless of the price, the maligning of our reputation, our peace. These children have to have a voice,” he said.
In the fight for equality, Khan said that silence and nonparticipation are not options. He concluded his remarks reading the 14th Amendment from a pocket-sized Constitution.
Kevin Kamenetz proclaimed July 12 as Unity Day in Baltimore County and presented Khan with an executive citation for outstanding leadership and courage in standing up for the constitutional rights of immigrants.
The program ended with an interfaith prayer from representatives of various faiths, including Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic and Muslim.