Somewhere in America...
Someone commits a hate crime
At least 8 blacks, 3 whites, 3 gays, 3 jews and 1 latino become hate crime victims.
A cross is burned
Check out these links for other Southwest Michigan organizations who are working to eliminate racism:
What can you do to fight hate and eliminate racism?
- Act - Do something, In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance - by the haters, the public and, worse, the victim. Decency must be exercised, too. If it isn't, hate invariably persists.
- Unite - Call a friend or co-worker. Organize a group of allies from churches, schools, clubs and other civic sources. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, police and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved.
- Support the victims - Hate-crime victims are especially vulnerable, fearful and alone. Let them know you care. Surround them with people they feel comfortable with. If you're a victim, report every incident and ask for help.
- Do your home work - Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Seek advice from anti-hate organizations. Accurate information can then be spread to the community.
- Create an alternative - Do NOT attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and people's desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade. Find a news hook, like a "hate-free zone."
- Speak up - You, too, have First Amendment rights. Hate must be exposed and denounced. Buy an ad. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth. Do not debate hatemongers in conflict-driven talk shows.
- Lobby leaders - Persuade politicians, business and community leaders to take a stand against hate. Early action creates a positive reputation for the community, while unanswered hate will eventually be bad for business.
- Look long range - Create a "bias response" team. Hold annual events, such as a parade or culture fair, to celebrate your community's diversity and harmony. Build something the community needs. Create a web site.
- Teach tolerance - Bias is learned early, usually at home. But children from different cultures can be influenced by school programs and curricula. Sponsor an "I have a dream" contest. Target youth who may be tempted by skinheads or other hate groups.
- Dig Deeper - Look into issues that divide us: economic inequality, immigration, homosexuality. Work against discimination in housing, employment, education. Look inside yourself for prejudices and stereotypes.
Tolerance, the important step is to begin...
(source: Ten Ways to Fight Hate, (c) 2000 The Southern Poverty Law Center)