Judy Belk responds to the wave of violence that has devastated America.
In the past week, another shocking wave of violence has devastated America – and we must refuse to accept this as “the new normal.”
In Pittsburgh, 11 Jewish people were murdered in a place of worship by a man wielding an assault rifle and shouting anti-Semitic slurs. In Kentucky, two African-Americans were shot at a grocery store after the white gunman, who had a history of violence, tried but failed to enter a predominantly black church nearby. And across the nation, pipe bombs were mailed that targeted people for their political beliefs, and a suspect known for posting threatening, racist comments and conspiracy theories to social media sites has been arrested.
All these incidents have one thing in common: hate.
Hate has once again created an environment in America so toxic that it has turned deadly. In February, the Anti-Defamation League reported that 2017 saw a nearly 60 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents. In the last two years, we’ve witnessed a wave of violence and hateful speech against African-Americans, Muslims, immigrants and LGBTQ people. And the Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked the steady rise of hate groups across America.
But hate has no place with wellness.
For more than 25 years, The California Wellness Foundation has worked to address violence as a public health issue, a problem that impacts many communities and can be solved through education, public policies and collective action. We’ve been a major funder of gun violence prevention. We’ve made grants to organizations working to prevent hate-based violence. And we believe everyone has a role to play in preventing violence.
We urge our fellow funders to make investments that support organizations preventing violence in American communities. We urge every American to use your voice and your vote to speak out against hate and to support peace and justice for all.
If there is a reason to hope in times like these, it is that we are not alone. Immediately after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, a group of Muslim organizations responded with a message of unity and has raised more than $130,000 to support the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and their families. And every day, in communities across the country, there are people working to stop violence, to serve those in need, and to build a more just and equitable world. We urge you to connect with them, to learn from them and to support them. We’re in this together.
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – From the Talmud
Get to know some of our grantees working to ensure the safety of people in our communities:
Transgender Law Center
Institute of Narrative Growth
Council on American-Islamic Relations California
Color of Change