With the vacuum of moral leadership at the highest levels of our government, it is every citizen’s duty to come to our country’s aid and do everything we can to counter the forces of division, fear, bigotry and hate that threaten to rip the fabric of our society to shreds. We Are Many-United Against Hate was started by Masood Akhtar, a Muslim American from India who was alarmed by proposals to establish a Muslim registry in the U.S. as well as a Muslim travel ban. What makes We Are Many-United Against Hate special is that it doesn’t just condemn those responsible for the latest eruption of hate-fueled violence. It digs down to the root causes. It works to overpower hate one act of common decency at a time.
When high school students in Baraboo, Wisconsin were photographed making a Nazi salute, We Are Many-United Against Hate went to Baraboo to help organize a community-wide response. Akhtar repeatedly traveled to Baraboo to plan actions with the superintendent, high school principal, mayor and other community leaders. Two other leaders of We Are Many-United Against Hate — one a former white supremacist organizer and the other an ex-police officer whose father was killed in the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee area in 2012 — made powerful joint presentations as part of a series of events aimed at promoting understanding, healing, reconciliation and redemption.
This is a shining example of We Are Many-United Against Hate’s approach. In repeated instances in communities far from Baraboo, the same kinds of interventions are made. Sometimes it’s done in the schools. Other times elsewhere in the community. Even one-on-one counseling and mentoring.
What We Are Many-United Against Hate already has achieved as an all-volunteer operation is being recognized nationally. The FBI director recently gave Akhtar the agency’s Community Leadership Award. Akhtar’s efforts also were saluted by the Southern Poverty Law Center with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions to the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America. His name was added to the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama to provide inspiration to all those who choose to take a stand against hatred.
Here’s our challenge to you: Think about your level of concern about division and hate in our society and make a donation proportionate to your level of concern. Drop a money bomb on hate. Your gift will help We Are Many-United Against Hate scale up as interest in our movement grows and demand for our interventions continues to increase. As word of the movement spreads, there are mounting travel expenses and program costs as well as a need to open an office, pay phone and Internet bills, and print and distribute educational materials. There also are event expenses for an upcoming conference titled “Homegrown Hate: Understanding and Combating Domestic Terrorism” and a series of “Overpowering Hate” forums that are in the planning stages. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to kickstart all of this.
No nation filled with hate can be great. You and a whole lot of other people can make it possible for We Are Many-United Against Hate to intensify and expand its efforts to overpower hate with humanity and common decency.
- Jennifer Ondrejka
- Marc F Hansen MD
- Jim Crist
- Thomas Hirsch
Fundraising team: Mike McCabe and Masood Akhtar (3)
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