Khizr Khan — father of late — addressed the University Democrats last Wednesday in Wilson Hall. Khan’s speech focused on the role of the individual in establishing civil discourse within the community.
Khizr Khan, along with his wife Ghazala Khan, received international attention after he delivered a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention criticizing then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“We have obviously our first meeting tonight with Khizr Khan,” said Mary Alice Kukoski, University Democrats president and a third-year College student. “We’re really excited about that to kick it all off.”
Roughly 300 students were in attendance for the introductory meeting and address by Khan.
Khan began his speech by recognizing Charlottesville as his home, later referring to the University as “an institution that embodies public service.”
He commented on how he thought the enthusiasm behind students’ campaign efforts for Congressional elections in November reflects the morale within the community.
“One thing I have observed that I wish to share is the spirit of the campaign staff, which is populated by your peers,” Khan said.
Regarding the violent white supremacist rallies of last sumer, Khan mentioned that he had thought the discriminatory acts witnessed in Charlottesville were fears of the past, though last August demonstrated their recurrence. Khan said that the one thing he hopes will be reinstituted in the U.S. is civility of discourse.
“That is the essence of democracy,” Khan said. “We disagree, but we respect one another … we have different perspectives, different opinions, but we are civilized.”
He said that regardless of an individual’s political affiliation, it is important to remain an active supporter of the American electoral process.
“There comes a time that your personal comfort, your personal peace, your personal luxury has to be sacrificed for the good of others,” Khan said. “Each and every one of you is capable of making a difference in this nation.”