Solidarity Vigil Against Hate, Bigotry to Be Held on Saturday, Dec. 17
By Donald Gilpin
A Solidarity Vigil Against Hate and Bigotry will take place at Tiger Park in front of Palmer Square on Saturday, December 17 from 3 to 4 p.m. in response to a recent rise in hate crimes and violence.
Sponsored by the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), along with the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ), Not In Our Town Princeton, and the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, the rally will represent a stand against all acts of violence and hatred, online and in real life.
“There has been a huge surge in hate crimes and violence,” said CFPA Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore. “It’s gotten worse and worse. Spreading these hateful messages is pernicious.”
Moore cited increasing numbers of attacks and threats against LGBTQ, African American, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, and other communities. “These are the people who are being targeted now,” he said. “We need to be proactive to prevent that, and the best way to be proactive is what we’re trying to do with the solidarity vigil on Saturday.”
He continued, “We don’t want these groups to feel that people of good will are just watching and saying, ‘Oh, that’s too bad, but what can I do about it?’ We need to be way more proactive. This event is trying to get ahead of the curve and say, ‘We’re not going to wait for the next hate crime to happen. We’re going to be expressing solidarity with all these victim communities and all people of good will standing together.”
ABC Eyewitness News reported last week that hate crimes were up 70 percent last month in New York City compared to the same month in 2021, with antisemitic attacks rising 125 percent.
“We have normalized hate and I continue to say the biggest spreader of this hate is social media,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams in the ABC news report. “What social media is doing to normalize hate, to spread hate, it’s just really alarming.”
Last month, on November 3, the FBI in Newark reported it had received “credible information” of a threat to New Jersey synagogues. The suspected perpetrator was apprehended the next day, but New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy noted, “This remains a tense time for our Jewish
communities who are facing a wave of antisemitic activity.”
Noting that a surge in hate speech and violence had been especially evident since 2016, when Donald Trump was running for president, Moore warned of the dangers of hate language online and in person. “The vast majority of people who are trafficking in hate speech probably won’t commit violence, but it normalizes the idea of dehumanizing another person and being willing to act violently against them,” he said. “It fuels that.”
He emphasized, “We need to be standing in solidarity against any and all violent expressions against any group that’s being targeted. If anybody wants to attack the Jewish community, I want to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. I think all of us of good will want to do that. Same thing with the LGBTQ community. Same thing with the African American, Hispanic, and Asian communities.”
Alia Shinbrough, BRCSJ Minister for Queer Liberation, commented on recent threats and acts of violence against the LGBTQ community. “The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice condemns the recent threats and acts of hate and violence directed towards our LGBTQIA community members and our precious and endangered safe spaces. As intersectional social justice workers we hold responsible anyone capitalizing on this politics of hatred and stoking political violence in our collective public life — including those who scapegoat and target our neighbors over differences in race, religion, sexuality, and gender to propel their own ambitions.”
They continued, “Tender times like these remind us of the vitality of our center’s work for collective liberation, especially in collaboration with dedicated partners like the Coalition for Peace Action. We extend our solidarity and uplift our care to all those in our beautifully diverse communities who are in need of recognition, respect, and indeed love, in this difficult moment and beyond.”
Describing Saturday’s vigil as “a big part of our call to be peacemakers at this time” and a means of fostering “the vision of peace on Earth,” Moore noted, “That’s what we’re all about. Let’s be in solidarity fully and show that solidarity visibly by standing together in this vigil against hate and bigotry.”
Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP via email to email@example.com.