Charlottesville, Va., North Korea, terrorist attacks, driving cars into crowds of people and so many other examples all indicate that hate has spread throughout our country and our world. Sadly, hate crimes in the U.S. are up 34% since last year. On Sunday, September 24th, hundreds of people met at the Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, NY to ‘Rally Against Hate.’ The rally was sponsored by different churches and synagogues, local villages and the Anti-Defamation League.
The rally opened with the song ‘This Land is Your Land.’ Many different songs were sung throughout the program, which spoke of love and triumph over trials. There were many speakers from different churches and synagogues as well as elected officials. As we listened to their words the energy and the love became stronger and stronger.
All the speakers were excellent but two stood out to me. Esther Geizhals, a Holocaust survivor, told her story of being taken from Poland as a young child and going to Auschwitz. She recalled still seeing her mother, father, aunt and younger brother walking away on different lines, the last time she would ever see them. She spoke from her heart, which she said is filled with love, but showed how a heart filled with hate can do so much harm. She warned this great country not to allow hate on any level. She is 88 years old and travels around the country telling her story, especially to young children, so they will learn what hate can do.
NY State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a strong supporter of Cabrini of Westchester, also gave a very inspiring talk. She said that it is hard to believe that in 2017 the U.S. is having rallies against hate. She, like Ms. Geizhal, said that although we are at a rally against hate, we need to rally with love. She challenged everyone there to be the love in the world, to not allow any form of hatred to be accepted, to challenge our elected officials when hate crimes do occur and to speak up when confronted with any form of hatred or racist remarks. We need to challenge people who don’t feel there is anything wrong with saying something against a race or religion. In a sense, acceptance is not an option.
Several tutors from Cabrini Immigrant Services in Dobbs Ferry, NY attended the rally. We not only represented the immigrant population but all people regardless of race, creed, color or status. As one tutor said, “CIS represents more than just the immigrant, everyone is welcome!”
The program ended with the song, ‘All You Need Is Love.’ Let us all do our part to make this world a loving place.