One of the most divisive challenges our country faces is spreading intolerance and the use of hate campaigns to target vulnerable people. Since the last presidential election, instances of both individual and group sponsored hate attacks have been multiplying across America. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been a leader in teaching tolerance and tracking hate movements in this country since the 1960’s.
A new tolerance movement, #VetsFightHate, is taking to social media to spread the word about diversity, inclusion, and tolerance. The group is responding to hate-filled and intolerant messages on social media targeting immigrants. With so many current and former military members being new immigrants and first generation Americans, these veterans can speak with authority and experience about what it is like to be an immigrant in an America they serve and honor.
More than most, military veterans know that the best way to win a fight is to stop it from escalating, rather than from bringing a bigger gun to the battle. With an eye toward de-escalation, these immigrant veterans are bringing a message to increasingly divisive social media to stop and think before writing something that could be harmful or hateful; to understand who our immigrants are, and what they are contributing to America; to remind everyone what it means to live another person’s life, and walk in their shoes.
In America, we respect our veterans. Or at least, we say we do. Many of our veterans are people of color, new immigrants, women–the very groups that are marginalized and victims of intolerance and hatred. #VetsFightHate is reminding people who we are, what we’ve done for our country, and the positive that comes from working together toward a common goal.
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