Taking Action:
    Civil Rights
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   Talking Points:
      Framing the Discussion
   Guidelines Based on Experience:
      Confronting Terrorism in a Democracy
        * Perspectives on Confronting Terrorism Provided at Forum
      What to do When Hate Groups Come to Town:
        * Recommendations of PA Human Relations Commission(PHRC)
        * Community Response Guide from Southern Poverty Law Center
        * Case Histories

Talking points to frame the discussion: (For explanation and tips, see Power of Language or Talking to the Media. These will open into a separate popup window, and will remain in the background until you close the popup.)

Hate crimes, intolerance and harassment
  • The majority of people who commit hate crimes believe they are morally justified in harming people because their victims are different. What are we doing to tell people that they are not justified in harming others?
  • Silence is the welcome mat for hate. How does our community show that we welcome diversity?
  • What is our community saying to people who are new and different from the majority? "You better think, act, believe and look like us" OR "you will be safe and respected here"?
  • If you want to keep hate and violence out of town, pay attention to young people. Let them know that they are important, valued members of our community.
  • We need to teach our children that difference is natural and normal and not to be feared.
  • Adults have a responsibility to do everything possible to help our youth become responsible citizens in a democratic society.
Race and public safety
  • All people should be concerned about racial profiling. When police base their actions on the race of a person, they are not paying attention to the real issues of public safety.
  • Our society pays a huge price in terms of public funds, family and neighborhood disruption, and loss of productive citizens for the disproportionate arrest and incarceration, particularly African American and other people of color.
  • The integrity of our criminal justice is compromised and the public loses faith in its impartiality when outcomes are more closely related to the race of the people involved rather than to their behaviors.
Overcoming prejudice
  • We need to come to terms with racism and anti-Semitism in our history and in our daily lives. Only when we recognize these biases can we overcome them.
  • It is hard to talk about racism and anti-Semitism, because we don't want to think that we might be biased or unfair. But if we don't look for its affects, we will be influenced by racism or anti-Semitism even if we don't recognize it.
  • Even if we were raised in racist or anti-Semitic environments, we can and should learn to be tolerant and fair-minded.
Tolerance of diversity
  • Our nation and every one of our communities are becoming increasingly diverse. We should welcome and tolerate diversity for the well-being of every community.
  • Democracy demands that we tolerate differences, that we put aside our prejudices for the good of the entire community. Without tolerance, the dissent, debate, negotiation and compromise necessary for democratic government cannot take place.
  • If people are prevented from participating in society by legal barriers or by violence and intimidation, we all lose the benefits of democracy.

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