Sara and Valerie respond to the recent upswing in Hate Crimes and bias crimes in the US and Tucson. Part of building and maintaining our Beloved Community is supporting and protecting one another from the indignity of bigotry. In the weeks and months to come, be on the lookout for places that will require your time, energy and resources. We, of the YW, are here to help and we look forward to organizing with you. Training, learning and sharing will be a big part of our advocacy efforts in 2017.
“In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.” (MLK)
Over recent weeks, there has been an increase in hate crimes against women, minorities, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities. This has inspired the YWCA of Southern Arizona to create pathways for action to promote a safer community for everyone. Our CEO, Kelly Fryer and chair of Advocacy Committee Annette Everlove published an OP-Ed in the Arizona Daily Star on Sunday November 27th in response to the agency’s influx in anonymous hate crimes that were reported on our Facebook account. We spent much time reflecting on this article and how this issue of Hate Crimes affects our community. We talked about how this has affected the lives of our loved ones as they navigate in our community with so much uncertainty.
As interns who balance school, work, and our internship at the YWCA in addition to our personal lives we wanted to come up with simple ways to create safer spaces in our communities. We understand that not everybody has the time or the money to protest, travel to rallies, and donate to organizations that they admire. Because of this we created a list of ways to minimize the harm of hate crimes in our community by empowering our friends, families, and neighbors to stop hate crimes in their everyday lives by . . .
- Put pressure on local law enforcement to collect data on hate crimes and make them accessible to the public by calling and sending letters. This will bring more awareness and transparency to hate crimes.
- Send letters to the President Elect to encourage him to condemn hate crimes acted upon in his name. If the President Elect knows that the majority of Americans are displeased by his silence, he will act. Get your kids in on it as well #KidsletterstoTrump
- Take action if you see a hate crime happening around you. Vocalize that what is happening is not okay and provide support for the victim.
- Research your favorite businesses and shop at businesses whose values align with your values. We recently realized that some of our favorite businesses were funneling money into policies that we did not agree with. We have committed to avoiding this businesses and instead giving our money to businesses whose values we can stand behind.
- Support We Stand Together to promote safe spaces in our community. Supporting positive events and organizations can lead to a better world.
The only way to stop hate is to take a stand against it. Taking a stand does not have to mean a large time or monetary commitment. Little things can make a big difference. No contribution, time or money, is too small. As Margaret Mead said, “Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has”.
We Stand Together Tucson is an inter-agency collaborative which expands upon the Tucson Police Department’s Safe Spaces Initiative. The launch event will be on November 30 at the Frances McClelland Community Center and will offer resources on how to advocate for our loved ones and neighbors against hate crimes of any kind.