Every single person has the right to peacefully exist as they are without hate or harm directed their way. As reports of hate increase across the United States, we want to remind you that you have the power to advocate against hate incidents in meaningful and impactful ways. Below are just 5 ways you can take action in your community:
1) Take a Bystander Intervention Training Course
There may be a point in time when you witness an act of hate in your community. When that happens, knowing how to safely intervene can be instrumental in protecting the victim.
You can learn how to safely intervene with bystander intervention trainings from organizations such as Right to Be. Formerly known as Hollaback!, this nonprofit’s mission is to build a world “that’s free of harassment and filled with humanity.” They created free trainings to teach people how to stop harassment with a set of simple and safe tactics they call the 5Ds: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct.
Sign up for virtual trainings to combat islamophobia, anti-semitism, and xenophobic harassment, among other forms of hate here.
2) Get involved in community activism
. By engaging in your school, government, and local community, you can foster a sense of unity and solidarity, and work to stop the hate.
- Join a march in solidarity with a group receiving hate or join a protest that advocates against it. If you’re under 18, you can check out the National Youth Rights Association, the nation’s largest organization fighting for the rights of all young people, to learn more about how you can organize and advocate in your communities.
- Call, email, or write to your elected officials expressing your concerns about the hate you witness in your community and beyond. Take the first step and learn who your elected local, state, and federal representatives are here.
- Vote. Remember, local elections are important, too! School boards, town councils, art commissions, all of it matters. Change starts in local communities. You can register to vote, check your registration status, and learn about the next election in your district via Rock the Vote!
- If you don’t support any of the candidate’s proposed plans or values on your local or state ballots, consider running for a seat in public office. Your voice matters! Be sure to check out organizations like SheShouldRun, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to increase the number of women running for public office, for support and information as to how to get started.
3) Check-in and support people who might be feeling unsafe
If someone you know is part of a community that is victim to bullying, harassment, or hate, check in on how they’re doing with a call, text, or message. Just relaying you’re thinking of them and holding space for them can show you care.
- Ask them what they need and be sure to listen. Questions like, “How can I support you?” can remind people you’re in their corner.
- Ensure your friends know you’re always up for open dialogue where they should feel safe to express their thoughts and feelings. If you’re not sure where to start, you can learn how to support a friend in their mental health by taking the Be There Certificate, a free digital, self-paced learning experience designed to increase mental health literacy and support your loved ones with their mental wellness.
4) Make connections with people different from yourself
Research by the American Psychology Association shows that one of the ways to cultivate empathy for others is to expose yourself to differences.
- Talk and have discussions with people from different backgrounds and cultures and challenge any stereotypes, prejudices, or fears you may have. If you have a question about someone’s culture or background, kindly ask them!
- Read multicultural and social justice books that can educate you about the history, background, traditions, and culture of different communities. If you don’t know where to start you can find a list of carefully curated books here.
- Attend someone else’s church, mosque, synagogue, or other house of worship for a few weeks while they attend yours.
5) Spread kindness
According to Born This Way Foundation’s Kind Communities Research, over 90 percent of youth say that kindness gets them through tough times. Kindness, youth say, is the way forward.
- Join or start a club in your school or community that advocates against hate. If you’re a student or educator, learn how you can start your very own kindness club or how to stomp out bullying.
- Call out people in your network if you witness them acting unkindly.
- Spreading kindness doesn’t just have to happen in person. You can spread kindness, online, too! Kind Communities Research shows that approximately 2/3 of young people say it would improve their mental health if people they know stand up for things on social media and if people they know share information to help others on social media.
- For more ideas on how to spread kindness, check out BeKind365.org.