Community members gathered at Bradley University tonight to address the rise of hate groups and crimes in our country. Lecia Brooks, the outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center spoke about how to combat hate crimes in our community. 

“A clear and consistent voice that we reject this notion of white supremacy, we reject this idea that we need to be broken up into ethnically separate states, we reject it, out of hand” said Brooks. “And if we say that loud enough, hand in hand, they will go back into the wood work.” 

A panel of activists and religious leaders spoke to the crowd about recent hate crimes in the country. They answered questions, including whether there’s a solution to reducing hate crimes. Brooks recommends organizing a peaceful non-violent protest, and to avoid engaging in direct confrontation, as that’s what hate groups seek. 

“You allow these people to come but it’s important for students, administrators, the community to stand up and say together with loud voices ‘This is not right this is not who we are, this is not who we will be’, and that does not require direct confrontation” said Brooks. 

SPLC has a guide on how to combat hate groups here.