24-hour event set for April 1
In a year that has seen unprecedented racial and political divide, threats to this nation’s democracy, questionable election conspiracies, and barriers to voting rights, Niagara University’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement, in partnership with Leadership Niagara, is asking the community to choose not to hate for 24 hours.
On Thursday, April 1, individuals are encouraged to “Halt Hate” and to respond compassionately to situations they encounter in their everyday lives; to consciously seek to understand, to practice tolerance, and to gain perspective, instead.
The “Halt Hate” initiative, now in its third year, endeavors to make this a lifetime pursuit. Organizers said they’re hoping the divisiveness and hateful acts that have occurred over the past year will encourage greater participation this year.
“Systemic racism and inequality are deep and persistent challenges in our country, region and community,” said Liz Zulawski, president and CEO of Leadership Niagara. “Centuries of bigotry, ignorance and hate have caused our communities of color pain and trauma that many of us are now seeing with clearer eyes. In partnership with the Levesque Institute, Leadership Niagara is encouraging change through kindness, by spending one day consciously choosing to ‘Halt Hate!’ ”
“We are at one of the darkest times in our country’s history, when the word ‘hate' is hindering our beliefs and values as a nation and individually,” said Patricia Wrobel, executive director of the Levesque Institute. “ ‘Halt Hate’ provides an opportunity for individuals to end the discord that impacts all of us and, instead, bond together to advocate for a culture of acceptance and kindness.”
Participants are asked to follow Leadership Niagara and Niagara IMPACT on social media for thoughtful activities, “Hate Hacks,” and updates; to use the hashtag #HALTHATE to share their stories on how they made a conscious effort to impact positive change rather than react; and to challenge co-workers, family and classmates to share their why and how through social media, as well.