SHOW LOVE, FIGHT HATE: A GUIDE FOR EVERYONE
Posted on 21 August 2017
Hate and intolerance have become a common thread with recent events and news headlines, and it only seems to be intensifying. What occurred in Charlottesville, VA just two weeks ago has left us all in a state of shock and fear for the future, as they echo exact occurrences from the past, but these feelings are also driving a lot of community activism. Several of you have been asking what you can to do help fight hate in your communities, specifically without getting in the middle of a heated, violent protest. I'm no expert, but I do think there are several things we can all do to promote love and tolerance and show support for our communities.
1. Make your voice heard by signing a petition, spreading legitimate and relevant information on social media or other online forums, calling your state and local representatives, or reaching out to local media sources to do human interest pieces. You can do all of these things without having to leave your house or put pants on, so go for it! Don't be afraid to stay quiet, because silence shows complicity. BUT, also remember that fighting hate with hate doesn't help either. We don't want to give more light to hate. The message should always be centered on unity.
2. Stay woke. Or, educated, if you will. Brush up on your history, and I'm not talking about the same basic history we learn in grade school. Dig DEEP. Read about things like the Algiers Motel Shooting in Detroit, the destruction of Black Wall Street, the Watts Riots, the Newark Riots, Gag Law 53, how interracial marriage has only been legal in Alabama for 17 years (is that not mind-blowing?)... Learn about people like Ida Wells, James Baldwin, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis... Knowing your history will give you a great foundation for understanding why we are where we are and why people of color feel the way they do.
3. Be aware of hate groups near you and get familiar with their ideologies. You can find that information here: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map.
4. Take action if something happens in your area. If you know someone who falls victim to a hate crime, report it. Offer support to the victim. Help clean up if there was a major act of vandalism, like what happened recently to the Holocaust Memorial in Boston. Remember, a small act of kindness will always go a long way.
5. Form a good relationship with community leaders and law enforcement officers. Work together to foster feelings of honesty and inclusion. Keep them informed about things happening in the community, stay up-to-date with any news that they may release, and keep free-flowing communication between all parties. You want them on your side. The individuals that choose these professions are choosing a life of public service; several are prepared to be our allies and keep us protected.
6. Make your money talk. Donate to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who work hard seek justice for all. Shift your spending to more locally, minority owned businesses. Reinvest into your community to help make it thrive.
7. Be kind, always. That can include a simple act of holding the door open for an elderly person, to just saying good morning to a stranger. I'm a firm believer that the amount of positivity you put into this world is the same amount you'll receive in return. Right now, it doesn't see like we're getting a lot back, so we need to start putting in a lot more.
What are other things you can do to be involved and show your support? Let us know in the comments below.
Kayra Velez is both a Brand Ambassador and the social media manager for Artista. A few of her other many other titles include Mighty Grip Junior Athlete, pole instructor and performer, and avid volunteer at various pole events. She currently resides in Columbus, Georgia.