Somewhere in America...
Every hour ...
someone commits a hate crime.
Every day ...
at least eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews
and one Native American become hate crime victims.
Every week ...
a cross is burned.
Bias is a human condition, and American
history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals
because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation
or other differences.
The 20th Century saw major progress
in outlawing discrimination, and most Americans today support
integrated schools and neighborhoods. But stereotypes and unequal
treatment persist, an atmosphere often exploited by hate groups.
Spread on the Internet and accessible by personal computers, hate
clearly knows no geographic bounds.
The good news is ...
All over the country people are fighting hate. Standing up to
hate mongers. Promoting tolerance and inclusion. More often than
not, when hate flares up, good erupts, too.
These guides set out 10 principles for
fighting hate along with a collection of inspiring stories of
people who acted, often alone at first, to push hate out of their
communities. Our experience shows that one person, acting from
conscience and love, can neutralize bigotry. A group of people
can create a moral barrier to hate.
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.
"The Klan is coming to our town.
What should we do?"
"I am very alarmed at hate crimes.
What can I as Joe Citizen do to help?"
When a hate crime occurs or a hate
group rallies, good people often feel helpless. We encourage you
Hate is an open attack on tolerance
It must be countered with acts of goodness. Sitting home with
your virtue does no good. In the face of hate, silence is deadly.
Apathy will be interpreted as acceptance - by the haters, the
public and, worse, the victim. If not answered, hate can persist
Hate is an attack on a community's
It tears society along ethnic, gender and religious lines, and
ignites emotions that need to be channeled. For all their "patriotic"
rhetoric, hate groups and their freelance imitators are really
trying to divide us. Their views are fundamentally anti-democratic.
Your actions can support individual rights. Think of fighting
hate as civil defense.
Hate events are rarely
They often are a symptom of tension in the community. Take seriously
even the smallest hint of hate even name-calling. Those
who are targeted do.
What can you do?
- Pick up the phone. Call friends and
colleagues. Host a small meeting. Stand up in church. Suggest
- Sign a petition. Attend a vigil.
Lead a prayer.
- Pick up a paint brush to cover graffiti.
- Use the skills and means you have.
A San Diego musician wrote a song about
the death of Matthew Shepard, the gay student in Laramie, Wyoming,
and sold CDs to raise money for anti-hate groups. A Montana T-shirt
shop printed up a shirt with a tolerance message. In Idaho, a
plant manager bused employees to a rally denouncing white supremacists.
When a cross was burned in the yard
of a single mother of Portuguese descent in Rushville, Missouri,
one person picked up the phone and called a friend. Then she called
the victim. Then she called a ministerial alliance and asked to
be put on the agenda. The upshot was a gathering of 300 people,
a speech by the mayor, news accounts of the rally, and the formation
of a unity committee within the church alliance.
If I had a hammer
One of the easiest ways to get involved is to pick up a hammer.
Painting over graffiti, replacing broken windows or building something
together sharing sweat equity creates neighbors
out of strangers and provides a tangible outlet that outlasts
the emotion of the hate event. Like mini-monuments to tolerance,
such projects become visible counterforces, pushing back against
hate. They can spawn other projects and ongoing dialogue about
Pete Seeger, who, with Lee Hayes, wrote
the song "If I Had a Hammer," says: "Hammers, shovels,
picks, trowels, brushes, drills, wrenches - all are good tools.
Let's all take a hammer... Let's find a way to build."
If the people of your town were armed
with hammers, what would they build?
- One woman, Ammie Murray of Dixiana,
South Carolina, is credited with rebuilding the tiny black-congregation
St. John Baptist Church not once but twice after racist vandals
destroyed it in 1985 and burned it to the ground in 1995. Discouraged
and exhausted after the second incident and with continuous
personal threats to her safety, the 65-year-old white woman
nonetheless fired up a 1,000-person, multiracial work force
that presented the congregation with a new church in November
- A sixth-grade class in Morgantown,
West Virginia, painted over skinhead graffiti on the outside
wall of a convenience store. Their teacher had used the graffiti
to discuss hatred and violence. After watching "Not In
Our Town," a video of how Billings, Montana, fought hate,
the children concluded that, left to stand, the graffiti would
convey community apathy. They became role models within Morgantown,
with press coverage and congratulations from the state Attorney
- In the searing aftermath of the murder
of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, local black citizens reminded
Jasper that the town swimming pool had been filled with dirt
in the 1970s to prevent black children from integrating it.
A mayor's task force proposed a new public pool.
- Reverberations from the Rodney King
beating prompted the Los Angeles human relations commission
to form neighborhood committees to pick building projects that
would improve their multicultural neighborhoods. Years after
the King incident, neighbors are designing and building flowerbeds,
new stoplights and community centers.
- When a seven-foot cross was burned
on the lawn of a young black couple in Kansas City, Kansas,
it shocked neighbors. "They've just attacked the neighborhood,"
said a spokeswoman for the Rosedale Development Association.
People from all over the city swarmed onto the property, repainting,
replacing screens, mowing the yard, planting flowers. The victim
hoped aloud that the perpetrator was watching, "so they
can see that what they did backfired on them."