Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

Muslim Educational Trust 25th Anniversary Banquet
May 12, 2018

Good evening, I’m Governor Kate Brown. It is an honor to be with you to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Muslim Educational Trust.

I want to begin by thanking President Wajdi Said and the MET Board of Trustees. Thank you for your leadership and dedication to Oregon’s Muslim community. And thank you for your continued work to foster meaningful relationships of understanding throughout the state.

I also want to extend my appreciation to the MET staff, faculty, and all those who volunteer your time. It is because of your commitment to creating more connected communities, that MET continues to flourish.

In the eight cohorts of high school students, MET has the phenomenal record of a 100 percent graduation rate. On top of that, nearly all graduating seniors have gone on to pursue advanced degrees. Many at some of our nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities.

That’s a reflection of MET’s commitment to excellence in education. It’s also a reflection of the love, support, and encouragement students receive as part of the MET family.

That love and support extends beyond the school. They are values rooted in the Muslim tradition and are at the core of the Muslim Educational Trust.

For the past 25 years -- and in the face of distrust and discrimination of the Muslim community -- MET has demonstrated love and compassion.

You’ve been a source of understanding and mutual respect. You’ve worked across denominations and with other faith leaders to foster a beloved community.

And MET has been at the table and on the streets with law enforcement and our local leaders. Working to create safer and more respectful communities for all who call Oregon home.

While Portland is famous for its twelve iconic bridges, it is the Muslim Educational Trust that should be celebrated as another cherished and vitally important bridge in our community.
This couldn’t have been more true than in the wake of the tragic attack on the MAX a little less than a year ago. My heart grieves for all those impacted by that senseless act of hate. And I’m inspired by the incredible acts of heroism by three of our fellow Portlanders -- two of whom sadly lost their lives.

I also cannot imagine what the two young women went through when they were accosted simply because of who they are: Muslim Americans. And women of color.

This should never happen.

Not here.

Not anywhere.

Each of us has the right to live with dignity.

As Governor, I will fight to make sure all Oregonians feel safe and supported. And work to build communities where every single Oregonian has the opportunity to fulfill their greatest potential.

We cannot let hate and fear divide us.

Words matter, and rhetoric from the White House has given rise to a very disturbing sentiment. Across the country, and even here in Oregon, there is a level of underlying bigotry and hate showing its face in ways that were unimaginable before.

It is absolutely unacceptable.

As long as I’m Governor, Oregon will be welcoming and inclusive to all who call our state home.

It is up to us to make our voices heard. To be the standard bearers of justice and equality.

There are times when the task may seem insurmountable.

But we must persist.

I am confident we -- as Oregonians and as Americans -- will overcome our challenges and bend the moral arc of this nation toward justice.

We can and we will create inclusive and beloved communities, where we all have the opportunity to thrive.

I look forward to doing that work with you.

Thank you.