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Jackie Headapohl Managing Editor

ADL organizes social media campaign.

In 2017, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57 percent, the largest year-over-year increase on record since the ADL started tracking such data in 1979.

Jonathan Greenblatt
Jonathan Greenblatt

The blame points in many directions. “No single group has the monopoly on morality, from white supremacists to the alt-right and the radical left,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL, who was in Detroit earlier this month to speak with community leaders.

To turn the tide on hate and bigotry, the ADL is launching “One Day Against Hate,” on Monday, Oct. 1, when people throughout the country will come together to start conversations of understanding.

In Metro Detroit, the regional ADL office is enlisting the help of school and religious organizations in a social media campaign. “Our goal is to have them take photos of their event and post them on our social media page using the hashtag #WeAreOneday,” said Kristin Jager, education director for ADL’s Michigan Region.

The goal is 1 million conversations, Greenblatt said. He explained how after the violence at the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, many mayors came to the ADL asking how they could prevent violence from happening in their cities.

As a result, the ADL partnered with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to create the Mayor’s Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry, which vows to “reject extremism, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry, and to ensure public safety while protecting free speech.” More than 240 mayors have signed on to the effort.

This partnership is but one example Greenblatt gave on how the ADL is working to expand its reach through partnering with other organizations and minority communities on such issues as fighting against the Muslim ban and the separation of families on the U.S. Southern border.

Greenblatt added that hate spreads quickly on social media. The ADL is working with tech companies to develop techniques to counter online hate.

George Selim
George Selim

George Selim, senior vice president, programs, is leading that charge. Selim, who’s been at ADL for about a year, comes from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, where he worked to combat extremism. “Fighting for civil liberties has been the theme of my life,” he said. “At ADL, we are fierce protectors of the First Amendment; however, there is a line that cannot be crossed — and that line is incitement to violence in public. Social media platforms don’t want to espouse bigotry. We are working with them on ways to enforce their terms of service.”

Greenblatt said that much in today’s political environment, including the rise of nationalism and populism, seems abnormal. “It’s as if the world has turned upside down,” he said. “But seeing institutions and everyday citizens mobilize to combat hate and extremism is encouraging to me. Things are only going to change if we change them.”

In 2015, the national ADL took stock of how it was allocating its resources and changed from a top-down to a bottom-up approach. “ADL’s strength is in its local offices, and the national office acts as a community support center when it comes to deploying our resources,” Greenblatt said. “Our focus is how we can provide the best support to the regions.”

Carolyn Normandin, director of the ADL Michigan office, said she appreciates the national support her office receives. “I feel empowered,” she said.

One Day Against Hate. Here’s How It Works:

  1. Pledge: Add your name and say, “I pledge to be a part of One Day Against Hate.”
  2. Converse: Start a conversation of understanding on Oct. 1.
  3. Share: Tell the nation you’re a part of the movement by posting on social media and using the hashtag #WeAreOneday.

For conversation starters and other ideas, visit https://weareoneday.org.