I recently attended a rally in Raleigh (go ahead and try to say that 10 times fast!). The rally was called as a protest to the announcement of a victory march by a local chapter of the KKK. We would be the rally against hate.
I was pleased to watch the park, where this rally was being staged, fill with hundreds of people all carrying signs of unity.
There were signs in support of LBGTQ and immigrant rights.
Signs for the BlackLivesMatter movement.
Signs for those standing with Standing Rock.
Signs to raise the minimum wage to support our working class.
And as rally cries began and fists were raised in unity I felt…something I didn't expect.
Here I was surrounded by people, most of whom I would implicitly place in my own ingroup, MY people, and I felt quite uncomfortable.
Fists aren't my style. I'm more of a peace sign girl. Maybe that makes me a hippie but I'm not naive. I don't think we can just stand by waving peace signs and watching as fear and hatred are glorified.
Action is needed. No argument there. But what is the right action to fight hatred?
The voices I heard and many of the signs I began to read, seemed to undermine the tone of a rally against hate.
In my head on repeat were the words of one of my idols, our current First Lady Michelle Obama:
"When they go low, we go high."
I wasn't feeling very high. I spoke my mind, shared some words and community, and left quietly after a couple hours feeling a bit defeated.
In our frustrations, in our anger, in our fear, let's not forget the reasons we protest. Find ways to wage peace, and incite equality before we raise more fists.