United Against Hate

Local school has meaningful week of activities

United Against Hate Week emerged from a United Against Hate poster campaign created by Bay Area Cities in response to white supremacist rallies in Berkeley and San Francisco in 2017. Since then communities and schools throughout California, along with state and local leaders, community members, activists and others have coordinated a United Against Hate Week during one week in November. The events have helped people learn how to reject hate of any kind and build a safer and more equitable world by working together.
    LA vs Hate, the local coordinator of United Against Hate Week, is a program of LA County’s Human Relations Commission, on which Jason Moss, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys serves as a commissioner. This program works with community partners from all five LA County districts, representing a diverse coalition of voices committed to ending hate. The organizations inspire people to stand up to hate, build understanding about what constitutes a hate act and how to report it, and support individuals and communities as they heal from the trauma of hate. The objective is to build respectful and resilient communities.
    At the start of the school year, Principal Adrian Acosta of Murray Elementary School in Azusa contacted Moss “to see if I (Moss) could help him address hate in the community surrounding his school.” During their initial meeting, Moss suggested Acosta have his school participate in United Against Hate Week (this year being held November 12 to 18), and he and his staff ran with it.”
    An entire week’s curriculum culminated in an assembly. The students signed a pledge to do everything they could not to hate. It became a personal mantra, and parents and teachers got involved. Students also created a mural that was unveiled in their cafeteria made up of pictures drawn or colored by the students. On the opposite wall is the tree (see picture on page 18).
    “It was beautiful to see the students so engaged and to hear the reports from the principal throughout the week,” Moss said. ”The school is an amazing place to be, and the parents took pride in the students’ involvement.”
    He added, “When the city of Azusa had gang-related activity, the city asked the schools to do something. Now Murray Elementary is a model for what other schools can do.”
    Moss hopes that other area schools will want to participate in future United Against Hate Weeks through its local organization, LA vs Hate. Since its inception, United Against Hate Week has spread to over more than 200 communities including all of Los Angeles County, faith-based groups, LGBTQ and human rights organizations, and is beginning to takeoff throughout California and in communities across the U.S.
     “We’re not going to eradicate hate completely, but there are things that can be done, like this, that can minimize it,” Moss concluded.  

Ilene Schneider has been chronicling Jewish life in Southern California for five publications since 1978. She has served as a communications consultant for a number of Jewish organizations. She is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.


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