When tasked with planning an assembly at one of our schools honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the student leadership team adopted the theme, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” We reflect on this considering what could be seen as acceptance of hate, humiliation, and violence whether targeted or generalized in social media, mass media, throughout society and even within our communities.
Rather than focus on or highlight hate, we would like to take this opportunity to look at how we can continue to move forward and work to be better with one another. We can start with increasing our awareness of hate speech and engage in conversations around how to address it and support those impacted by it. To be clear, hate negatively impacts everyone.
Hate speech is identified as language or action meant to vilify, humiliate, dehumanize, or insult a person, group, or organization based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or religion. Below are some tips and strategies for positive support and intervention when we witness or are aware of hateful/humiliating attitudes, speech, or interactions. Some strategies for intervention include:
Interrupt (speech, action, social media posts)
- Every biased remark
- Every time
- In the moment
- Without exception
Question (seek to understand and be understood)
- What was said
- Why it was said
- How to address (participant/recipient)
Educate (yourself and others)
- Explain why it is offensive
- Encourage a different choice
Echo (do not allow someone to speak up alone)
- Recognize others who speak up/speak out
- Reiterate anti-bias
If you or someone you know is being targeted by hateful, harmful, or humiliating speech/actions, please reach out to a trusted adult. Similarly, if you know of someone engaging in hateful, harmful, or humiliating speech/actions, please contact a trusted adult. Please contact your school principal or our Equity and Inclusion Department if you have any questions or would like more information.