Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, ordinary families and people involved in daily life had the rhythms and expectations of normalcy violently extinguished, the gift of life taken from them this past weekend. More than 80 people were killed or wounded in terrible acts of violence, hate and terror this past week. As a Catholic, Jesuit University founded upon a faith in service to the promotion of justice and a deep commitment to the dignity of all people, we join with others across the nation to mourn the tragic loss of life caused by these hate-fueled acts. As an Institute for Hate Studies founded upon the desire to truly understand the root causes and effects of hate, we stand in solidarity with those suffering and in pain, to act upon the promise and practice of peaceful multicultural democratic communities for everyone.
- August 9 at Noon - "Building a Community of Solidarity" by painting the Gonzaga Wall with messages of encouragement, solidarity, and openness.
- August 28 at 8:30 p.m. on the Centennial Trail: "Building a Bridge of Solidarity" candle-lit vigil of support and solidarity for undocumented community members.
Human rights must be upheld. We must stop the rhetoric of fear, hate and division and find peaceful solutions that are animated by the Great Seal of the United States, E Pluribus Unum, from Latin which literally means "out of the many, one." In this dark night of soul, let us raise the words of Martin Luther King when he once wisely observed that "darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that." We are witnessing a rise in the level of rhetoric that fuels the fires of hate-filled acts. We are witnessing with increasing vitriol, racist words that have led to racist acts.
In the immediate aftermath of these horrific events, we need to support each other in our grieving and fundamental desire to make sense of these tragedies as a way forward to healing. As members of a free, democratic society we must take responsibility for how our learning is contextualized in the realities of our times. We must also be prepared to make our communities generative spaces where everyone can live, learn and work together in peaceful and respectful ways. Indeed, we face a call for action. As James Baldwin reminds us, "not everything we face can change, but nothing changes unless we face it." Here are ways you can face hate and answer the call for action:
- Study the symbols of hate groups. Be curious about the meaning behind the images on t-shirts, tattoos, posters, stickers, and online.
- Find articles in the Spokesman-Review and Coeur d’Alene Press about how the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden, Idaho became a peace park.
- Learn how Derek Black, godson of David Duke, was a rising star in a hate group and now tells his unique insider’s understanding of how hate operates from the book "Rising Out of Hatred" by Eli Saslow.
- Pick up a copy of The Fig Tree Newspaper and the electronic Fig Tree Directory to locate organizations to serve in our local community.
- Reflect on your own relationships and how you can stretch yourself by discovering similarities and differences among world views with Spokane FaVs (Faith and Values Network).
- Look up Meghan Phelps Roper, former member of the Westboro Baptist Church, to hear what changed the direction of her life and watch her TedTalk.
- Understand the "Pyramid of Hate" and try this exercise from the USC Shoah Foundation.
- Reflect on the empathetic approach of Christian Piccolini, former skinhead and member of the white power movement, and consider the ways he now supports others trying to leave hate groups.
- Here are the Ten Stages of Genocide from Genocide Watch. Next time you are on a walk or drive, you can create deep and real conversations.
- Read "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity" by Sally Kohn, a journalist and former CNN and Fox frequent guest.
- Organize a potluck dinner party or coffee talk focused on a culture different from your own and learn about new beverages, foods, and practices.
- Speak up. Volunteer. Donate. Pray. Do it your way – you decide.
To learn more about effective ways to prevent and respond to hate please visit the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies web site. To learn more about how you can make a difference and be part of the solution to addressing hate in all its forms, please contact:
- Dr. Kristine Hoover, Associate Professor and Institute Director using the Contact Us button at www.gonzaga.edu/hatestudies or 509-313-3665.
- Dr. Raymond F. Reyes, Associate Provost & Chief Diversity Officer at email@example.com or 509-313-6550.