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Khizar Khan Speaks to San Diego Youth and Educators

November 6, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Cheering and clapping filled the room as middle school and high school students from all over San Diego County signed their names on the Resolution of Respect during the No Place for Hate Leadership Conference.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that works to combat anti-Semitism, held the conference at the Lawrence family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla in an effort to address creating safe and inclusives schools and safeguarding free speech.

Students, teachers, administrators and parents from all San Diego County school were invited to participate and hear from special guest Khizr Khan, the father of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War.

Khan spoke of having faith in American values of pluralism and liberty and the harm that stereotypes and prejudice can cause.

“Our legacy is a legacy of hope,” Khan said while speaking to a room filled with hundreds of No Place for Hate Leadership Conference participants.

In 2016, Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention with his wife, Ghazala Khan at his side, about his son and criticized some of then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledges.

The family received national attention with that appearance, and since then, Khan has given multiple speeches.

“My only objective is to make sure that we share our commonality with one another,” Khan said. “When we share our voices together our voices become powerful.”

Khan happily took pictures with convention participants and signed their miniature U.S. Constitution books.

Educators participated in a discussion about the role of student speech freedoms, yet how to create a safe space for all students. Students participated in sessions that focused on learning about developing safe spaces, and keeping a safe campus climate.

Khan a lawyer who was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States, said we have an obligation to train our immigrant communities to participate to make their concerns known.

“We must remain united” Khan said. “Support the organizations that are supporting us immigrants, join them, have a voice, support the candidates that stand for our interests. In Democracy as I have said, silence is death and our immigrant community sometimes doesn’t remember that.”

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