NOW

Close-up of Youth Voice and Community Empowerment Mural by Veronica Orozco/RYSE Center.
Close-up of Youth Voice and Community Empowerment Mural by Veronica Orozco/RYSE Center.

Envision a cocoon of strength, safety, and love that encircles freedom of speech and expression tightly and firmly.  This right is sacred.  It must be protected and encouraged.  A sentiment of inclusiveness must endure in our communities.

Since election night, social media, police, national and news organizations have recorded increased incidents of hate.  An emboldened segment has surfaced: unleashing frustration and abuse on underrepresented and underserved communities.  This is happening now rooted in our American history since inception.

Locally a man was attacked wearing a “Latinos for H” pin, a woman’s genitals grabbed, a man harassed with racial slurs, a woman verbally assaulted at a gas station, a young woman’s hijab grabbed choking her, children terrified at school, racist graffiti, a threatening letter to a mosque, and the list goes on.  Critics argue that this would have occurred despite the election or that political correctness has gone amuck.

Hate must never become normalized.

Change?
Example.

There needs to be a consistent outlet for our community and especially the youth.  Almost six months ago, the City of Richmond cut the Richmond Neighborhood Public mini-grant program.  It was a mere $60,000 a year.  The small art grant provided a voice to diverse communities since 1989.  It fostered grassroots artistic expression led by local members.  Decimated under political will when right now it’s needed most.

Create Peace mural by Ross Holzman and Izabella Tschig located in Richmond's Community Park. The artwork was funded part of the Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grant program.
Create Peace mural by Ross Holzman and Izabella Tschig located in Richmond’s Community Park. The artwork was funded part of the Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grant program.

The program was a small token of relief, self-expression and freedom.  But it sure did a lot.  A void now exists with a empowered tidal wave of divisiveness hitting our shores.  The next fours years will require preparation.  Delusions aren’t welcomed here.

What can be done?

The time to mobilize is now.  I will start locally to make a difference nationally and internationally.  Richmond must stand together and be a sanctuary for everyone.  I will fight for a reinstatement of the Richmond Neighborhood Public mini-grant program.  Waiting isn’t working.  Our community needs to be proactive and supportive by celebrating and reinvesting in diversity.

Support us.
Support us.

Community round table discussions encouraging open communication and ensuring freedom of expression must start.  Our youth need places to communicate freely and openly without fear of reprisal.  Our humanity is depending on it.

Yes.
Yes.

A safe haven to create united networks against hate is in order.  Richmond must protect one of its greatest assets: the intellectual and artistic resources of its people.  We need to be present and accept this challenge.

I’m in- are you?

The links:

http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/151/Council-Agenda-Documents

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/hate-on-the-rise-after-trumps-election

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/11/12/post-election-spate-hate-crimes-worse-than-post-911-experts-say/93681294/

https://www.splcenter.org/

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/18/update-incidents-hateful-harassment-election-day-now-number-701

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/15/update-more-400-incidents-hateful-harassment-and-intimidation-election

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/21/anti-muslim-assaults-reach-911-era-levels-fbi-data-show/

https://balisle.com/2016/07/31/7091/

https://balisle.com/2016/08/07/2/

https://balisle.com/2016/08/14/3/

https://balisle.com/2016/08/21/4/

https://balisle.com/2016/08/28/5/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s