MCC Interim Moderator Speaks Out Against Hate Crimes

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In the wake of the recent U.S. election, both Republicans and Democrats in our ranks are facing blatant discrimination. The clear disregard and regular promotion of violence against vulnerable groups by the elected ticket has resulted in a rapid rise of hate and violence. Regardless of political parties, none of us support attacks on Muslims, immigrants, disabled people, women, LGBTQ people, and others.

Today, we need to organize. King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, found Nazi symbols chalked in front of their church. MCC of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, found feces spread across their door. One MCC lesbian couple was refused service in a restaurant in Florida. I have read repeated posts about people experiencing hate speech, physical violence, violence against property, and death threats. So what do we do?
The first thing to do in the face of hate is report it. Record all the details about any incident.

  1. Document the location, time, date, and persons involved. If possible, document with photos or video.
  2. Report to your local police. Even if they do not have enough evidence for charges, they can begin to track patterns of violence and abuse. Take someone with you when you make this report. Videotape the interaction with the police to make sure harm is not multiplied by disrespect or disparagement. Be sure to get a report number and the contact information of the officer who took the report.
  3. Share with others. Report directly to MCC. Whether it is violence, name calling, discrimination, hate graffiti, vandalism, or any other kind of violence or discrimination, tell us about it at [email protected]. We will also document evidence.
  4. In addition to the police and MCC, document your experience at the Anti-Violence Project, https://www.avp.org/get-help/report-violence, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/reporthate.

You are not alone! The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported 400 incidents (https://tinyurl.com/400-incidents) of threats and intimidations since the election. One report made directly to the SPLC said, “My 12-year-old daughter is African American. A boy approached her and said, ‘Now that Trump is president, I’m going to shoot you and all the black people I can find.'”

Encourage anyone else who experiences verbal or physical violence to report it. Anyone who is different or vulnerable is being targeted. Koreans (https://tinyurl.com/Korean-racism) in the U.S. are reporting heightened instances of racism. According to a CNN (https://tinyurl.com/CNN-hate-crimes) report, police in Ann Arbor, Michigan were investigating reports of a man who approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter unless she removed her hijab.

Plan actions and use the media. As you or other groups face hate actions, consider planning candlelight prayer vigils or demonstrations for solidarity. Carry signs that communicate the issues, tell the story, and call for action. Invite the media. Call them with the information they will want to know about your event: who, what, when, and where, and tell them why it will take place. You can also send an email with the same information and include your telephone number. Livestream your event, record it for social media, use Facebook Live, Periscope, whatever works for you to share the story. If you need help with media planning, let us know. A list of Talking Points can downloaded here. They can be useful in preparing for an interview or presentation.

We will not stand by and let these acts of discrimination continue against others in our communities. Our MCC Values of Community, Inclusion, Social Action, and Spiritual Transformation guide us to speak out in the face of injustice.

Last, but not least, pray. Pray for everyone in MCC and pray for the world. Jesus showed us that resistance is never futile. MCC, this is our time to live love and stop hate.

Let us stand together for justice,
rev-rachelle-brown-signature
Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown

Interim Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches