I am writing to tell you about an important national initiative launching today that AVP is proud to be a part of, Communities Against Hate.
In the wake of the 2016 election, there has been a surge of incidents of hate violence reported across the country against LGBTQ people as well as Muslims, immigrants, people of color, and more. Safe spaces in our community such as LGBTQ and Jewish community centers as well as churches and schools have been threatened and vandalized. So many of us across our country have been and continue to be affected by this violence.
At AVP, central to our core values and mission, is the belief that no one should be targeted for violence because of their race, gender, gender identity, religion, nation of origin, immigration status or any other identity or characteristics. We also believe that we must stand together against violence regardless of who is being targeted. We must speak out against hate and bigotry when we see it and document incidents of hate whenever they arise.
Through the Communities Against Hate Initiative, we are joining other social justice organizations – including Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, Transgender Law Center, Hollaback, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Color of Change – to document hate violence, share data across communities, and map a full picture of hate incidents in the United States. Collectively, we aim to protect the rights of communities that are most vulnerable; increase services, change policy and promote a restorative justice approach to addressing incidents of hate.
AVP has been tracking violence against LGBTQ people for over 30 years, and we are thrilled to bring our expertise and experience to the Communities Against Hate Initiative. We believe this important data will help inform and empower all of us to stand up against hate-based violence and the racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and other forms of bias and oppression in which this violence is rooted. This initiative is a model for the creative, collaborative and intersectional work we must do now, more than ever.
What can you do? Help us collect data on hate violence incidents, raise awareness, and educate the public on the prevalence of hate. Share your story if you experience anti-LGBTQ violence. Report incidents of LGBTQ hate violence in your neighborhoods and communities. Share incidents of LGBTQ hate violence that you read about in your local newspapers, and report other forms of hate violence such as anti-Muslim, anti-Immigrant, anti-Black and anti-disability that you experience or witness.
Please note, that the Communities Against Hate platform will not immediately connect you with an AVP service provider. If you have witnessed or experienced violence and need to reach an AVP counselor or access immediate support, please call AVP’s 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) Hotline: 212-714-1141.
We must be united. We must report violence in our communities. We must never normalize hate. AVP is here for you and we are all in this together. Please consider making a donation today to help support this project and all of AVP’s vital work.
Until we are all safe and free,