The Hate Among Us

  Photo credit: The Los Angeles Times ( https://goo.gl/images/MCZEXe)

Photo credit: The Los Angeles Times (https://goo.gl/images/MCZEXe)

Last weekend a rabid anti-Semite entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven Jewish congregants, and injured six others. He targeted the worshippers not just for who they were but because of their support for refugees and immigrants. In the days leading up to the synagogue shooting, a man killed two African-Americans at a grocery store in Kentucky upon failing to enter an all-black church, and law-enforcement arrested a man in Florida for allegedly sending explosive devices to prominent democrats and media outlets. All three perpetrators were hate-filled white supremacists and part of a growing threat in the current socio-political climate.  
 
As we continue to mourn and honor those we lost, we must do more to collectively dismantle the causes and manifestations of white supremacy in our communities. According to an FBI report published last year, white supremacists had carried out more attacks over the 2000-2016 period than any other domestic extremist group. And yet under the Trump administration, more than 85% of the Countering Violent Extremism budget is focused on Muslims, Black Lives Matter activists, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and refugees – groups that have in fact been targeted by white supremacists. Groups such as Life After Hate that work to deradicalize neo-Nazis were deprived of funding under the current administration. 
 
At a time when our president has become the Inciter-in-Chief, it is up to us to strengthen our communities against hate in all its forms and shapes. We must call for greater anti-bias trainings that address racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia in our schools, congregations, public institutions and communities. We must call for greater state and local resources to be allocated to anti-hate initiatives and encourage the reporting of bias-related incidents within our respective communities. In addition, we must vote in droves in the upcoming election and drive out hate. We owe nothing less to Daniel Stein, Joyce Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers Cecil Rosenthal, and David Rosenthal, husband and wife Bernice Simon and Sylvan Simon, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger, Vicki Jones, and Maurice Stallard.