MADISON, Wis. — One week after an incredible visit to D.C., a Dane County man said he was thankful for the opportunity to visit to the White House.
“I was very thrilled and honored that they chose me,” Massood Akhtar said about the experience.
Based on their work toward combating hate, the White House selected Akhtar and nineteen others to visit with President Joe Biden for the United We Stand Summit.
Besides receiving a front-row seat, Akhtar said Biden wrote him a hand-signed letter.
“Dear Massood, thank you for joining me at the White House for the United We Stand Summit,” it read in part.
Akhtar, founder of nonprofit We Are Many United Against Hate, was honored at the summit for his work with the group. They aim to get equal protection for all.
Akhtar said the event was heartfelt, featuring survivors of hate-based crimes.
“I think it was very emotional, but it was a very powerful event, very well organized with a message that we need to work together,” Akhtar said.
Akhtar’s nonprofit mentors youth by bringing former hate-group members into classrooms and communities all across the state.
Akhtar said it was Sen. Tammy Baldwin who nominated him for the award and summit.
Shortly after Biden gave the keynote address, Akhtar had a chance to talk with him. He said he was proud of the White House’s new bipartisan, anti-hate agenda.
“He [President Biden] it seems like a down to earth when it comes to these kinds of things. He does not hesitate to speak up,” Akhtar said.
And nor does Akhtar, as he plans the next steps forward.
“I’m going to reach out to all of these people — 19 ‘uniters’ — and have the conference call with them and talk about how we can all work together,” he said.