No one is born to hate. No one is a born a terrorist. People are either taught to hate or have gone through challenges in their lives, desensitizing them to others’ lives, freedom and happiness. Hate and violence do not benefit anyone. Hate causes a lifetime and generations of pain.
Heather Heyer’s family and friends. Those whose lives she touched. The police officers’ family, friends and colleagues. The multiple injured victims. The witnesses. The attacker. No one involved in the Charlottesville protests have been left unscathed. The media attention will wane, focus will soon be placed on another incident, in another town, with more violence, more victims and likely more loss of life.
To truly build a World Without Hate, we must never forget Heather, her selfless dedication, and all the victims who have come before her. We must honor her life by taking conscious, deliberate, every day actions, one act of kindness at a time, if we truly want to combat the seemingly endless cycle of hate, divisiveness, and terror that has plagued our country for generations.
So on this day, and every day after, I urge all of us to take time to sincerely reach out and educate our younger generations, and remind one another, to respect every one regardless of their socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation and gender identification. Let us stand together, rejecting all manifestations of hate.
~Rais Bhuiyan, 9/11 Hate Crime Victim, Human Rights Advocate and Peace Activist