In recent months, many of us have watched in horror as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has gone from a sideshow attraction worthy of laughs to what appears more and more to be a legitimate run for the GOP candidacy. Raucous rallies and events have translated into actual votes during this primary season and, increasingly, many of us (including the GOP establishment itself) are wondering: “What the hell is going on?”
Many things are going on, but what has me most concerned is the unchecked hate that seems to surround candidate Trump. Increasingly his public events have become spectacles of racist outbursts and aggression as Blacks, Muslims and anyone else considered undesirable in Trump Land are often taunted, mocked, harassed, assault and/or thrown out at these events.
In recent days, a group of silent Black students were escorted out of Trump rally on the campus of their college and a young woman of color was openly assaulted by pack of wild white men at another event. Whatever is going on, Trump has awoken the beast of open racism and hate.
As the scenes from these events make their way across our Facebook feeds, many of us are left uttering sentiments of disbelief and in too many cases feeling helpless. Yet we can take a stand against the hate. When Trump and his merry band of hatemongers arrive in our cities and towns, we need to push back and say this is not acceptable. To be frank, it is time for white people who are against the hate to show up. Reading about racism and talking about it are absolutely necessary but it’s also time for action. The hatemongers are organizing themselves and those who truly aren’t buying that message need to organize themselves too.
Nationally, there are groups like Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and even my organization, Community Change Inc. that work specifically with white people, but one does not need to be part of an official anti-racism group to take a stand. Many religious denominations such as the Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ are looking at their work through a racial justice lens. However, all it takes is a few people to get together and decide to show up to counter the narratives of hate, at the very least by being in these spaces when the hate erupts and taking a stand against it. In many of the incidents that make the news at these rallies, never do we see or hear about anyone standing up…where are the people who care?
Closer to home here in Maine…and this is really short notice…Trump is coming to Portland, Maine, on Thursday, March 3rd at 1:30 at the Westin Harborview. He will be there along with Gov. Paul LePage. Apparently one needs tickets to enter the blessed event. To show up and be heard is not without risk and if one doesn’t feel like taking that level of risk, there is an anti hate protest that will be held earlier in the day. Change, however, requires taking a risk. Rosa Parks took the risk as did many others. The question is: Will you take a risk to speak up for what is just and right or will we all let the voices of hate overpower us?
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