In the last few days several instances of hate crimes have startled the nation; many believe that the Trump campaign speeches against immigrants, some religious groups and minorities have given tacit permissions to attitudes usually kept beneath the surface by many. According to a report by NBC: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-hate-crimes-20-percent-2016-fueled-election-campaign-n733306 from a study done by a professor at California State University, hate crimes have increased more than 20 % in 9 major metropolitan areas in the last year. Some areas have seen larger increases since the election. Some have claimed that the Pulse club shooting in Orlando was an example of an intersection between terrorism, racial hatred, anti-gay rhetoric and gun violence.
Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also discussed these changes in a recent interview in the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-southern-poverty-law-center-05312017-htmlstory.html
He said that hate crimes increased after President Obama was elected but that what has happened now is much worse as some people are not adjusting well to the changing demographics in the country and feel alienated in their own country. Other groups encourage violence and demonize those from other cultures. He also pointed out that one has the right to hate in this country, but one does not have the right to hurt others because of those beliefs. Indivisible is in a position to lead a campaign against hateful behavior. If each of our more than 8000 chapters called for members to speak out against hate, we could accomplish a lot by educating and sharing knowledge of some of these behaviors. CNN recently called this last week America’s ugly week of hate and mentioned that the SPLC has documented 1372 bias incidents just since the 2017 inauguration.
Two men were stabbed to death and one seriously wounded by an enraged white supremacist as they came to the aid of two African American teen aged girls (one wearing a hijab) he was threatening on the Portland Oregon light rail train.
A promising young African American college student, about to graduate from Bowie State and serve as a commissioned officer, was stabbed by a University of Maryland student as his visited with friends on campus; the student was known to support ideas from alternative right (alt-right) movements.
Nooses have recently been found around the Washington DC area – in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, on the National Mall and on the American University campus.
The Los Angeles home of basketball superstar LeBron James was recently defaced with racist graffiti.
"No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, you know being black in America is tough," James said.
Indivisible stood with Muslims and others as they attempted to come to America despite the travel ban attempted by President Trump. Indivisible stood with working immigrants as they marched for a Day without Immigrants to demonstrate solidarity. Indivisible joined with the Women’s March as women across the world spoke up for issues such as freedom of choice, equal rights and equal pay. Indivisible stood up for the planet as we marched on Earth Day and with the scientists who realize that global climate change is a serious concern.
Now it is time for Indivisible to stand tall against hate. With our more than 8000 chapters, we represent a considerable force and one which can stand up against the voices of hate. We need to continue to speak up for freedom and democracy and to speak out against those who would spread divisiveness and hate. We can provide community leadership across this country with our progressive focus on supporting what is good for America and decrying acts of violence and prejudice. With our Congressional focus we need to demand that our elected officials also speak out against groups which support hate crimes. In our individual communities we can hold forums to educate and inform and celebrate our common humanity. To some, the person from elsewhere is the “foreigner”, the “alien”, the unknown; basically what that person may represent is a difference and to many, that is fearful. To some, the melting pot of America is not the promise of our constitution, but rather a threat to their identity. To others, who support separation of races and religions, any integration of these factions disturbs their view that America is a white Christian nation. Indivisible can be a positive force and work to nudge these views toward the graves where they belong.
We must continue to speak out as the Trump administration remains silent on these issues and as it tries to roll back the reforms of the Obama years, and attempts to distill gains in civil rights, distort press freedoms and mandate increased prison sentences.
The task will not be an easy one, as long held beliefs are seldom given up easily, but if we are to counter the negative practices promoted by those who hate, we must start and the time to start is now.