I am writing today to invite you to participate in Talking Back to Hate, URI’s campaign against discrimination and hate speech. Just as violence begins with hate speech, we believe peace and understanding can begin with open, respectful dialogue. World Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1-7, is a perfect time to initiate this campaign with URI members and we encourage you to take action and tell your story!
Talking Back to Hate seeks to help end incidents of bullying, hate speech and discrimination – which we believe are both hurtful in themselves and can lead to other forms of cruelty and violence. In the coming year, we hope to raise awareness about these issues, provide specific, positive responses people can make to incidents of hate speech and launch a campaign of global citizenship, culminating in a day of activism on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace.
In addition, we are asking role models from within URI to share their experiences. There will be a space on our Web featuring the stories of URI members who have taken a stand and talked back to hate.
In particular, we’d love to present the stories of those who were able to draw positive lessons from a negative experience.
We invite you to share with URI an incident of bullying, hate speech or discrimination in your own life and how it has affected you.
You may want to consider the following questions in telling your story:
- When did you encounter hate speech, bullying or prejudice?
- How did you choose to respond? What wisdom or examples from your religious or cultural traditions inspired you?
- What effect did this have on your life? (If applicable) How has this incident affected your interest in/work with URI?
- Please end your story with the phrase “My name is ____, and I am joining URI in talking back to hate.”
Thank you for raising your voice in a spirit of acceptance and understanding.
In peace and friendship,
Kiran Bali, MBE, JP
Global Council Chair
United Religions Initiative