Charlottesville: Facing hate with love

Alyson Marchi-Young
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 4:30pm

The events this month in Charlottesville felt shocking for many; and for many still, this is all too familiar. We mourn the untimely death of Heather Heyer and offer healing thoughts to her family and the survivors of that attack. We are absolutely disgusted by the violent acts of white supremacists, KKK members, and Nazis. There is no place in this country for hate, bigotry, and racism. 

As the country reeled from these acts, President Obama shared Nelson Mandela’s words: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

That learned hate comes partly from fear - fear of change, fear of the "different," fear of what one does not understand. This fear is exacerbated when we live in communities that are increasingly segregated by economics, race, religion, age, education, and more. That is what is happening across the country, and here in Oregon. We do not know and we do not interact on a daily basis with people who are different from us. To unlearn hate - or never learn it in the first place - the places where we live, work, learn, and play must be places of community for all.

The history of land use has not been an equitable one. It has lead to race-based and class-based segregation in Oregon communities. 1000 Friends is fighting to reverse these trends, to create equitable housing and transportation policy, and to promote inclusive communities. We need more, much more, diverse housing that is affordable to all in every neighborhood; safe and accessible transit, bikeways, and sidewalks in every town and city; and public gathering spots like neighborhood stores and parks where people get to know one another. The invisible walls need to come down.

Let’s be bold, proud, unafraid, and inspired to face hate with love. Let’s face our own histories and work to dismantle our ingrained biases. Let’s work together to build a more just, equitable, peaceful, and resilient future.

Here are some ways you can learn more and make a difference:

Our friends at OPAL have put together tools and opportunities for white community members to work on these issues.

Check out Western States Center’s Dismantling Racism Resource Book and trainings

1000 Friends and CRAG Law Center participated in a joint training held by Yee Won Chong. We learned a lot!

Get to know and support organizations in Oregon doing this work. Some of our partners include OPAL, Community Alliance of Tenants, APANO, and Coalition of Communities of Color.

Most importantly, continue to learn, to talk, to support one another, and to challenge racism whenever it shows up.

In solidarity and with love, 1000 Friends of Oregon