The racist and anti-Semitic march and violence on August 12th in Charlottesville, Virginia, along with the disgraceful response by our President, call upon us social workers to take action against hate in our communities and State. What can we do? The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a Community Resource Guide entitled, “Ten Ways to Fight Hate” that can be downloaded at https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/ten_ways_to_fight_hate_2017.pdf.
These are tasks that all of us can engage in in our communities to fight hate and promote tolerance. The following is a summary of the “Ten Ways to Fight Hate” as printed in a paid advertisement in the August 17, 2017 edition of the New York Times. In addition to these tasks if you become aware of a need for social work involvement in your community in an anti- hate or pro-tolerance event or activity, contact the chapter office and we will send an alert to members in the region.
TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HATE
Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public, and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.
2. JOIN FORCES
Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, police, and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved.
3. SUPPORT THE VICTIMS
Hate crime victims are especially vulnerable. If you’re a victim, report every incident — in detail — and ask for help. If you learn about a hate crime victim in your community, show support. Let victims know you care. Surround them with comfort and protection.
4. SPEAK UP
Hate must be exposed and denounced. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth. Do not debate hate group members in conflict-driven forums. Instead, speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF
An informed campaign improves its effectiveness.
Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Understand the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident.
6. CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE
Do not attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and for people’s desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.
7. PRESSURE LEADERS
Elected officials and other community leaders can be important allies. But some must overcome reluctance — and others, their own biases — before they’re able to take a stand.
8. STAY ENGAGED
Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur. Expand your comfort zone by reaching out to people outside your own groups.
9. TEACH ACCEPTANCE
Bias is learned early, often at home. Schools can offer lessons of tolerance and acceptance. Host a diversity and inclusion day on campus. Reach out to young people who may be susceptible to hate group propaganda and prejudice.
10. DIG DEEPER
Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes. Commit to disrupting hate and intolerance at home, at school, in the workplace and in faith communities.