United Against Hate

How the “United Against Hate” Campaign Started

In 2009 The Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) received three increasingly ugly, racist messages on its answering machine over the course of the year.  After the third message, the GIAC Board went to a Common Council Meeting to bring attention to the problem. Many people spoke at the meeting.

Once news of the racist messages became public, conversations took place in many circles throughout Tompkins County about how to respond to hate speech and behavior. One such conversation on the e-mail list-serve for the MRC Talking Circles on Race and Racism produced the idea for the “United Against Hate” poster (pdf).

The person who suggested the idea gathered input from others on the list to come up with the phrase and designed a poster. The poster was distributed through list-serves and was hosted on the Ithaca Journal website (in its December 1, 2009 edition) along with the statement of intent below. That weekend over 1000 posters were downloaded from the Journal site alone. Before long, posters were showing up in home and car windows all over Ithaca.

A Facebook page “United Against Hate” was started and quickly grew to almost 1000 members within weeks.

Buttons were designed and a local teen with a button business was asked by MRC to produce them. By January, hundreds had been distributed. Bumper stickers were designed and ordered by another member of the Talking Circle list.

From the Ithaca Journal story: “Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, deputy director of GIAC, said she thinks the messages are part of a nationwide surge of racism related to the election of the country’s first African-American president.”  The “United Against Hate” campaign is a way for people to push back against this trend and be visible in opposition to racist intimidation.

One comment for this page

  • Renee says:

    I grew up in Ithaca and went to GIAC. I moved to Arkansas when I was 16. It’s a great thing you guys are doing, thank you.

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