Children’s Health and Education Organizations Condemn Intolerance and Violence
Children’s Health Defense and other national organizations call for a thorough investigation and rigorous prosecution.
Sacramento, CA—The undersigned organizations condemn Kenneth Austin Bennett’s shoving of California (CA) Sen. Richard Pan Wednesday and are relieved that Sen. Pan was not harmed.
Contrary to Sen. Pan’s insinuations, Mr. Bennett is a lone actor who is not, and has never been, part of organizations who support children’s health and education. Despite his efforts to infiltrate our organizations, we have kept Mr. Bennett at arm’s length due to his suspicious, unusual and erratic behavior.
CA citizens who advocate for children’s health and education are a peaceful group of engaged citizens, none of whom has ever resorted to physical violence. We believe that bullying, threats and violence are not acceptable in civil discourse and policy making.
Along with condemning Mr. Bennett’s conduct, we must condemn Sen. Pan’s repeated use of the pejorative slur “anti-vaxxers” to refer to anyone who voices concerns regarding his proposed legislative policy of mandatory vaccination that plans to take away CA citizens and doctors’ medical freedom rights. Slurs like “anti-vaxxer” dehumanize children and their families, many of whom have been injured by vaccines. They are not, as Sen. Pan calls them, “anti-vaccine extremists.”
Such rhetoric has spurred intolerance and violence as exemplified by a female staff member of Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, who recently spit on a 15-year girl and called her a “retarded anti-vaxxer.” This incident resulted in the child’s mother filing a report with Capitol security. Not a single legislator, including Sen. Pan and Assemblymember Rubio, publicly condemned or addressed the legislative staffer’s assault of the child.
The undersigned call on Sen. Pan to refrain from further attacks on the medical freedom community and for the CA Legislature to reject Sen. Pan’s attempt to pass his bad health freedom policy, SB 276, based on sympathy instead of honest civil debate on the risks and benefits of the legislation.
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