Southern Poverty Law Center: Fighting Injustice, Spreading Tolerance

This what a group of young people in this country should look like.

Could we just remember that with the exception of the Native Americans, we are ALL either immigrants ourselves or descended from immigrants. This was meant to be a country of tolerance, although we haven’t practiced that terribly well in the past, that doesn’t mean we should abandon our values of respect for religious, cultural, race, ethnic, LGTB differences,  now. Diversity is healthy. An ecosystem can’t survive without diversity–neither can we. Thanks to my grandson for knowing this and letting me use this photo of him with some of his friends.

In their own words the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): “is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.”

If only those who support these goals felt that we were getting closer, rather than further away. But that is certainly not the fault of SPLC. There are currently 892 hate groups that SPLC tracks. Their Hate Map shows where they are located.

SPLC, based in Montgomery, Alabama, does much more than focus on hate. They created and maintain the Civil Rights Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, known also for the soul-stirring Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Civil Rights Memorial is not just lest we forget our history, but includes the Wall of Tolerance.  This cleverly designed wall digitally scrolls through the names of those visitors who sign the following pledge: “By placing my name on the Wall of Tolerance, I pledge to take a stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. I will work in my daily life for justice, equality and human rights – the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.”

It’s worth a trip to Montgomery just for that.

Another important aspect of SPLC’s work is teaching tolerance. In their words: “Our Teaching Tolerance project combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom. We produce an array of anti-bias resources that we distribute, free of charge, to educators across the country – award-winning classroom documentaries, lesson plans and curricula, Teaching Tolerance magazine, and more.”

The SPLC was founded in 1971 by two civil rights lawyers (Martin Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr.) to continue the work of the civil rights movement. As one can see from the above information, they do much more than legal battles. SPLC is my fourth organization to contribute to as part of my way of dealing with the aftermath of this election. If considering donating:

Here are the other organizations to date:

Planned Parenthood: to support women’s rights to their own bodies and health.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations: “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” Quoted from their mission statement. to fight for climate safety. “To preserve a livable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.” Quote from their website, and thus the 350 name.

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