Inoculating Ourselves Against Hate and Violence


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Press Telegram newspaper Sunday Forum commentary by Lydia A. Hollie, JD/MAED.

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Inoculating Ourselves Against Hate and Violence

  1. 1. SUNDAYFORUM When violence occurs, the challenge we face is transforming the horror into positive and meaningful outcomes. Whatlessons are there? Parents are theInoculating our~~lvesc"~ primary caretakers of the future - the children. Parents must educate themselves, then teach their childrenagai11St hate;//-- , about conflict resolution and mediation. Parents must set boundaries, establish consequences, and follow -,C vand violence through appropriately. Every moment parents have:with)t., their children is a precious, teachable moment more R .~t powerful than any classroom instruction or peer~groupBy Lydia A. Hollie pressure. Parents are the family physicians who must be the first to inoculate their children against hatred andJ,T,. : ~A , consistent and comprehensive: Whether it is a communitys or response to violenceeach must be hate crime other violent acts, must be treated with, the same vigor to mitigate the negative violence .. Young people who have been inoculated against hate· " and violence know what uncondi,tional love is. They honor and respect their parents without reservation. As impact, eradicate the harm, and restore the community family ambassadors, these youth are mindful that every to wholeness. In a community as diverse as Long decision they make affects their families, and there is Beach, there can be only one message - human life is no substitute for wise decisions and responsible sacred. When one of us is wounded all of us are behavior. They. must recognize that their character is . wounded regardless of .who the victim and assailant are, . derived from lessons learned in formative years and in the nature of the crime, or where it occurred ... maturity as well. . When tragedy strikes, the character of a city is revealed in the moral and ethical fiber of its citizens. In Children and youth are the communitys nucleus, and . weare better served when we regard them as important" 1998, Long Beach experienced 66 hate crimes dnven stakeholders in the communitys future. Fir~t, t~e by racism, homophobia or anti-Semitism. In Texas," " en, community must overcome its tendency toward denial " 1"4 James Byrd .was killed in a brutal lynching, only because he was black, and in Wyoming Matthew .> by acknowledging deeply rooted social problems. It IC must overcome ignorance and prescribe effective Shepherd was beaten to death simply because ofhis remedies. Then, the community inust overcome its t"-, sexual orientation., .• : "".J propensity to be arrogant about its problems. These o These. indidents were the backdrop motivating the o ,maladies are not inherent to "those people over there.: N Long Beach City Council to adopt an ordinance t "., We must take ownership as a community. Developing declaringhuman dignity as a policy. This was the first the right vaccine takes faith, patience, time, and a <t major step toward inoculating the city against hate. sufficient financial investment in the process. In 2006, the human dignity policy was violated 23 The Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Task Force >- times. Of these, only one captUred the communitys a: , is focused on early I:hildhood education, youth « interest and, demonstrated the vulnerability of a city that engagement and violence prevention, workforce. :J, views,diversity as its strength. What was intended to be development, and communicating positive value-based .a: anevening of Halloween fun resulted in a tragedy for messages through media which emphasizeintegrity, OJ the entire city and left shattered lives. respect, personal responsibility, and personal w On Jan. 26, Judge Gibson Lee rendered guilty accountability. Our actions today will determine our LL verdicts for nine of the 10 youths ranging in ages from future. 12 to 17 for conimitting a crime of hate against three Lastly, the role of adults in the lives of our youth IS >-, human beings ostensibly because of their race. The « indispensable to the inoculation process. Unconditional o community must now live in the aftermath of the assault, the trial and the convictions. The intricate and, love, creating a safe and proteCtive environment, being z a good listener, instilling hope and offering " :J fragile tapestry of our diversity has been damaged, encouragement, providing an opportunity to work and • :_ (j) although it can be restored with the help of every learn strong work ethics, providing guidance and wise citizen. counsel; and building good character traits for living Since this case was not the only ijate crime laj)t year, with integrity, are some of the ways adults can make, a some have questioned whether it had special meaning difference in the lives of our youth with profound because it involved black-on-white crime. Some ~~ , n questioned whether the incident will be a polarization :2 , The city began this process several years ago with along racial and socio-economic lines. Some are the adoption and implementation of the Human DignitY ~:. o concerned that the criminality was filtered through the Policy. Since th!t time v;irious programs have been ".," . o lens of black misconduct, making draconian measures>,., making strides to immtlI1ize our youth as well. The role/ :2 more acceptable. Then there are others who havy ",,{ .~~ ~. of adults is critical in this process. Youth need caring « concluded pessimistically that the incident is a ~ .• " adults who are willing to love them and help them a: permanent setback for diversity, but the commuhitys .. ,0 resiliency is the foundation of its renewal. I am P. I navigate through life in a protective environment. Our coIlective will is the sole determinant concerning . w confident that we wiIl heal imd emerge with a greater i ...J whether we are successful in this inoculation process. W appreciation for and commitment to our· community.: ,;: ! Inoculating ourselves from hate and violence in all their I- Unfortunately, hate-based aggression was not the only forms is a continuous process. (j) violence during the three months of the HaIloween hate (j) Long Beach can expect to achieve extraordinary crime. trial. There were several killings, including young ." w results only with an extraordinary commitment. a: victims and the parents of young children. The ", community must be no less determined to seek justice ............................................................. 0.. and bring closure to these cases. Clearly, inoculatingf Lydia A. Hollii"ts chair-of the Long Be~ch Youth drid ~he community from. violence in all its ,forms is a work Gang Via/end/Prevention Task Force. . ).~ In nfOQTess. -.:...1".4..••••.•. . ,.,;6; .•• •• -,... --:0 •• :....;. ••••• ~_~..;:. ,~:..-- •• .,lo;-t..t •