Orange County Democratic Women

Changing the Face of Politics One Woman at a Time

TEN IDEAS FOR FIGHTING HATE IN YOUR COMMUNITY 

ACT - apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Counter hate with acts of goodness. Host a neighborhood or community meeting. Speak up in church. Sign a petition. Attend a vigil. Offer your services and skills. Give your employees the afternoon off to attend a rally.

JOIN FORCES - Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, law enforcement, and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved. A hate crime creates an opportunity for a community’s first dialogue intolerance. Bridge the gap between neighborhoods and law enforcement.

SUPPORT THE VICTIMS - Let victims know you care. Surround them with comfort and protection. Small acts of kindness — a phone call, a letter — can help.

SPEAK UP - Do not debate hate group members. Instead, speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity. Spread tolerance through social media, websites, church bulletins, door-to-door fliers, and letters to the editor, and print advertisements. Create a “Hate Free Zone.” Educate elected officials, reporters and publishers about hate groups. Urge editorial writers and columnists to take a stand against hate. Promote “good news” when people promote tolerance.

EDUCATE YOURSELF - Understand the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident. Eruptions of hate generally produce either: apathy (“It’s just an isolated act by some kooks”) or fear (“The world is out of control”). Before reacting, get accurate information about those who are spouting hate.

CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE - Hold a unity rally, forums, parades, and unity fairs.

PRESSURE LEADERS – Some elected officials need to overcome reluctance — and others, their own biases — before they’re able to take a stand. Support of local officials, police, college presidents, school principals, local clergy, business leaders, and others can help a community address the root causes of hate. Demand a vigorous investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

STAY ENGAGED – The best cure for hate is a united community. Bring together people from different backgrounds and belief systems, and provide them with a safe space to share thoughts and get to know each other. Hold a human rights celebration. Begin discussion groups, book clubs, and library gatherings where people tell their stories, their immigration history, their experience with discrimination and their fear about revealing sexual orientation.


TEACH ACCEPTANCE - Bias is learned early. Reach out to young people who may be susceptible to hate group propaganda and prejudice. Examine your children’s textbooks and the curricula at their schools to determine whether they are equitable and multicultural. Expose your child to multicultural experiences by expanding your circle of friends and experiences. Encourage your children to become activists. Examine the media your children consume, from internet sites to thecommercials during their favorite TV shows. Openly discuss stereotyping and examples of intolerance when you see them. Model inclusive language and behavior.

DIG DEEPER - Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes. Help address hunger, affordable housing, domestic violence, school dropout rates, and police brutality. How wide is your circle of friends? How diverse are the people who visit your home? How integrated is your neighborhood? Your child’s school? Workplace? Do you take economic segregation and environmental racism for granted? Do you have the courage to ask a friend not to tell a sexist or racist or homophobic joke in your presence? Do you take the time to listen and learn from other people’s experiences — especially people with whom you might initially disagree?

 Over 150 people attended the town hall discussion  on the rise of hate, distrust and disrespect in our society.  This much needed conversation is just getting started. Help keep it going.

Opinion Times Herald Record

February 12, 2019

Editorial: The cure for hate starts with schools


Anybody concerned about the rise in hate crimes and hate speech, anybody who has wondered what to do, would have found comfort Sunday afternoon at the Chester Senior Center. About 150 people listened to a panel discussing the role that hate plays today in America and talked to each other about the next steps. Just the need to have yet another panel discussion on this topic, the notion that hate is so prevalent in our nation and our region, is discouraging. But the crowd was larger than the organizers, the Orange County Democratic Women, had expected. So that was encouraging.

And two of the panelists were high school students. That’s another encouraging sign because while there are many causes for   hateful behavior, one traditional remedy has been education, and both talked about how their schools are doing and what more can be done. If anybody doubted that we need more education on the topic, the stories relayed by the panel were both informative and alarming State police are investigating a fire in a building in Livingston Manor last month where firefighters who put out the blaze discovered many swastikas painted on the walls.

N’Senga Kinzonzi, a sophomore at Minisink Valley High School, talked about being the target for a vicious racist attack in a social media post. As she said at the time, “I was shocked and saddened ... But I thought that maybe he doesn’t know the history.               I decided to take an educational approach.”  And that was a theme that kept emerging during the afternoon. Talking to people who already agree may be comforting, but talking to those who disagree is more important. Information will not automatically change attitudes but it is impossible to have the kinds of discussion we need to have if all involved are not well-informed.

Recently the topic has come up in the United Kingdom where police reports showed that anti-Semitic incidents were at a record high for the third consecutive year. That news coincided with another alarming story, a survey finding that one in 20 people in the U.K. does not believe that the Holocaust took place. This does not necessarily mean that they are in the despicable category of Holocaust deniers, those who know the history and choose to distort its meaning. But it does mean that there is a large number of people who would be susceptible to such propaganda. Surveys in the United States report similar gaps in knowledge, one of the most recent the finding that 41 percent of Americans, two-thirds of Millennials, do not know what Auschwitz was. The same survey found that 11 percent of older adults and 22 percent of younger ones had not heard or were not sure that they had heard of the Holocaust and an even higher percentage in both categories vastly underestimated the number of Jews killed during that era.

Panels like the one on Sunday often struggle to define the next steps. While there are many possible, it seems obvious that schools are where we need to focus our attention whether that concerns confronting racist incidents or informing students about hate, its history and its consequences.

During the event we will present susan bahren with the 2019 ocdw Spot Light Award 

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
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2017 Young Democrats take center stage

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2017 Young Democrats take center stage

New chapter of Young Dems launched at dinner. Board Members seen below.