Hate in America has become commonplace! It is acted out by individuals and/or groups who feel they must kill or confront those who are not the same race, religion, disabled, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. Bias is a human condition and American history is rife with prejudice. When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime. Since 2010, law enforcement agencies have reported an average of about 6000/year to the FBI. But government studies show that the real number is higher-an estimated 260,000/year. And many hate crimes are not reported.
All over the country, people are standing up to hate and promoting tolerance and inclusion. Good people are rising up against hate – often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.
The Southern Poverty Law Center puts out these 10 principles to fight hate in your community:
- ACT: Do Something! In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and the victims.
- JOIN FORCES: Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. Create a diverse coalition of children, police and the media.
- SUPPORT THE VICTIMS: If you’re a victim, report every incident-in detail. If you hear about a hate crime victim, show your support.
- SPEAK UP: Speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF: Determine if it is a hate crime and not a bias incident. Determine if a hate group is involved and research its symbols and agenda.
- CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE: Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.
- PRESSURE LEADERS: Elected officials and other community leaders can be allies. Some must overcome reluctances – and others their own biases.
- STAY ENGAGED: Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur.
- TEACH ACCEPTANCE: Bias is learned early, often at home. Schools can offer lessons of acceptance and tolerance.
- DIG DEEPER: Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes.
ACTIONS THAT COUNTERACTED HATE
Sixth grade class in Morgantown, WV paints over hate graffiti on outside wall of Convenience Store.
Man in Sacramento, CA leads a campaign to stop the sale of Neo-Nazi clothing at Target Store.
When the Klan announced plans to clean up a stretch of road under the Adopt the Highway program in Palentine, NY, teenagers flooded City Hall with so many applications that the Klan was pushed onto a waiting list.
In Pulaski, TN, birth place of the Ku Klux Klan, came to rally there, they found the town closed down for business – including McDonald’s, the grocery store and Walmart.
When the Klan planned a rally in Indianapolis, IN, local museums, the state capitol, and other attractions opened their doors to citizens for free. Community leaders held a youth rally for Hope in a ballroom. A coalition including the mayor and IN Colts placed a full page ad in the Star against the Klan.
Source: Southern Poverty Law Center
Presented as information from JPIC of the Oldenburg Franciscans.