Local hate crime reaches farther
by Marlena Chertock
I was watching my local news tonight and one story struck close to home, in location and emotion. A synagogue in my neighborhood was vandalized earlier today, with Swastikas and quotes in reference to the Holocaust painted in graffiti on the walls, parking lot and lampposts.
I have seen Swastikas spray-painted on brick walls and buildings before, but never has the vandalism occurred so close. This event really shows me how hatred can go undetected, undercover and fester.
Hatred against any group of people, ethnicity, race, religion, social class, or other social distinction should not be tolerated. I am against any kind of discrimination—I am not just writing this article because I am Jewish and a synagogue was attacked; I am upset from any hatred, violence or discrimination. Discrimination and acts like this one are a violation of a person’s rights, dignity and humanity.
Why does such hatred have to be alive and strong in today’s day and age? Haven’t we found that compassion, dialogue and understanding gets more across and is a more effective method of change?
One solution to problems and hatred such as this one is communication. Communication is key, in many situations, and this is most definitely one of them. If the lines of communication are opened, to allow for people on both sides of this issue, people with varying opinions and feelings, to come together and discuss, have a true conversation, both sides can learn about the other and where they are coming from, both sides can work through issues of misunderstanding, the need to spew hatred, violence, different opinions and come to peaceful resolutions.
Actions like this one are trying to instill fear. We cannot be afraid. Fear turns to silence, and in silence we all lose. In silence the hatred and violence is allowed to thrive.
This coming semester I will be taking a course that falls under my Non-Violent Studies minor: Writing for Social Change. I am really excited about the minor and this class. The minor includes classes that teach the writings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, ethics of religions, social rights movements, social justice, ethical practice and mediation (to mediate is to act as an intermediary between parties and reconcile differences and disputes). This particular class will look into how different styles of writing bring about social change (journalism, letters, political writing, law writing, judicial writing, etc.). This class speaks to my belief that opening communication is an effective form of working through problems and affecting change—writing is of course a key form of communication.
In no way am I encouraging a limit of Freedom of Speech by denouncing vandalism like this, especially not since I am an aspiring journalist and firm believer in the First Amendment; but, I am bringing up a caution, a call to awareness that if hatred such as this is left to simmer, it will continue to grow and spread and worse actions may result. The only way to combat hatred and violence is to address it, through open dialogue, patient discussion, educating others and spreading the value of all human beings. We don’t need such hatred today, in the past, or in the future—but the only way to stop it is to act now. We can stop such hatred. We must join together and spread awareness and the necessity of human rights—for all.