May 10, 2009 (La Mesa) La Mesa’s City Council will consider adopting a “Hate Free La Mesa” Declaration at its meeting on Tuesday, May 12th at 4 p.m.The measure has been presented by a member of United for Hate Free San Diego, a coalition of 52 faith-based and community organizations county-wide.
United for a Hate Free San Diego seeks to decrease hate-motivated behavior by engaging elected officials and other civic leaders in educating the public while using reason and moral persuasion to counter the dehumanizing rhetoric of hate groups and their followers, according to an editorial published in the San Diego Union-Tribune by Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, San Diego City Councilman Tony Young, and Asheley Walker, director of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission. The coalition aims to refute “falsehood with facts and countering an ethos of hatred with a faith-and community-based message of compassion,” they wrote.
At a summit last June, more than 200 people, including the authors, signed a declaration committing themselves to this mission. La Mesa’s Council meets at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Avenue in La Mesa. Full text of the proposed resolution: A DECLARATION ABOUT HATE-MOTIVATED BEHAVIOR By the City of La Mesa California We honor and respect the diversity that makes La Mesa and San Diego County one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. This diversity boasts a rich and varied cultural heritage that must be protected. Therefore, when an act of hate is committed against any person, it is considered an act against the entire community.
We declare that all people should be treated with courtesy and respect, regardless of their real or perceived racial background, language, national origin, religious practice, sexual orientation, gender, age or disability. All people have the right to pursue their daily lives without verbal abuse, intimidation or physical harm. A hate crime is defined as any criminal or attempted criminal act which is motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age or disability and accompanied by a verbal, written or physical action intended to create emotional suffering, physical harm or property damage.
We also state in the strongest terms that we vigilantly oppose all hate-motivated behavior and all other forms of discrimination. We also respond to incidents of slurs, bias and discrimination because these behaviors nurture future antisocial behavior. We caution those who advocate or perpetrate hate not to challenge the community’s resolve to oppose acts of Hate. We insist that law enforcement vigorously investigate, apprehend and prosecute those who perpetrate hate crimes and that we stand united to educate and model acceptance and respect for differences. In support of this declaration, we, send these messages:
TO THE COMMUNITY we say, “Lend your voice in opposing hate! Actively participate, at home, at work, and in the community, in groups and activities that seek to create an inclusive environment where differences are respected and collaboration is encouraged. Start in your own neighborhood and family.”
TO THE PARENTS we say, “Act as positive role models for your children by demonstrating acceptance of those whose race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age or disability is different from your own. You are the most powerful influence on your children’s behavior.”
TO THE SCHOOLS we say, “Because the majority of hate crimes in this region are committed by youth under 21, it is important to confront and educate students, at all levels, about the benefits of a diverse society. Develop and enrich programs and curricula which promote respect toward and understanding about those who are different.”
TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY we say,”You are stewards of the marketplace. You have the opportunity to promote justice and fairness through business ethics that reject hate and discrimination in the corporate arena, public advertising, and employment practices. Develop criteria for promoting business practices that foster respect rather than discrimination and exploitation. Withdraw business support/advertising dollars and endorsements from activities and persons that foster hate mongering.”
TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE we say, “You have an opportunity to create a community and a world that demands and expects the humane treatment of all people regardless of their differences. Develop sensitivity toward the beliefs, values and feelings of others and learn to view differences as positive.”
TO THE FAITH COMMUNITY we say, “Use your pulpit to encourage your congregations to recognize and confront prejudice and bigotry in themselves, their loved ones, and the people they work with daily. Bias must be confronted. Make where we live, learn, worship and work inhospitable places for hate.”
Silence and apathy are the greatest allies of those who engage in hate-motivated behaviors. Hate crimes and hate-motivated behaviors are extraordinarily debilitating to the victims and their families and are destabilizing to neighborhoods and communities. It is incumbent upon our community to ensure that no victim is left invisible; that each individual's worth as a human being is reaffirmed. Those who engage in hate-motivated behaviors denigrate our democratic way of life, our heritage and the strength that comprises the foundation of our community and our nation. As the community of La Mesa, we declare that we will not silently accept or tolerate any hate-motivated behavior in our community without response. For more information, visit www.HateFreeSanDiego.Org.