The third annual United Against Hate Week kicked off Monday using social media and virtual meeting platforms.
This continues the legacy of the campaign, which was started by Bay Area cities in response to white supremacist rallies in 2017. The week’s events include mindful movement yoga, film screenings, a TED Talk and several educational events and panels.
“United Against Hate was created by civic leaders in direct response to the sharp rise in expressions of hate in our communities,” the United Against Hate Week website reads. “We want to empower local residents to take action in their local communities and alter the course of this growing intolerance.”
According to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, United Against Hate Week was first launched as a poster campaign focused on distributing 20,000 posters that read “Berkeley Stands United Against Hate.” Arreguín added in an email that the city of Oakland soon joined in the effort, and the movement spread throughout the Bay Area.
Since then, Bay Area cities have made a commitment to encourage action and spread awareness, according to the campaign’s website. With support from the anti-hate organization Not In Our Town and the LA vs Hate campaign, the movement has spread to more than 60 cities nationwide.
The campaign encourages support through posting signs, hosting events and connecting with schools and neighborhood civic institutions.
“It is up to all of us to build an infrastructure of community support that will always be ready to stand up for members of our communities when they are attacked,” Arreguín said in the email. “Most importantly, let’s continue to do the work necessary to ensure that hate does not happen in the first place.”
Arreguín added that education, compassion and cooperation are “key” to understanding the differences between people, a step the campaign takes to bridge divisions and strengthen communities.
According to ASUC External Affairs Vice President Derek Imai, the ASUC is currently working on three initiatives that build upon the idea of unity against hate.
The initiatives include social media campaigns to engage the student body with the Racial Justice Now campaign, which works toward uplifting marginalized UC students and ensuring that their needs are met.
Additionally, the ASUC is pushing its #BearsStopHate campaign, which addresses hate crimes and threats of violence toward individuals or groups based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability or other identities.
The final ASUC initiative hopes to partner with professors and experts studying polarization and unity to build a space for conversations in the coming year.
“There’s lots more room to continue the dialogue,” Imai said. “This should not be one week where we are united against hate — we think that this should be continued.”