Tacoma’s Hate Won’t Win Challenge
by Molly Archer, Interim Executive Director
Be more than a by-stander!
This simple idea is the gist of the Hate Won’t Win Challenge to Tacoma’s faith community. The Challenge was begun by Alana Simmons, granddaughter of Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, Sr., who was among nine killed in a June 17 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina.
“All we’re asking you to do is to show an act of love to someone who’s different from you – someone of a different race, of a different religion, gender, even a different generation,” Alana said at Tacoma’s Hate Won’t Win Challenge event. “Do something kind for someone different than you. Go out of your way to speak to someone different than you.”
The Hate Won’t Win Challenge is meant to go viral as a social change movement. “Our mission is to put God’s love into action by advocating for unity. It is our belief that we should celebrate our similarities through acts of love instead of allowing our difference to divide us and cause hate.”
I attended the launch event on August 2nd at Bethlehem Baptist Church with people from throughout our community. This event marked Tacoma officially accepting this challenge, the first city in the US to do so. Alana spoke and several area officials and notables responded to her challenge. I have been thinking, how can the faith community respond? What will each of us do to continue the momentum in our lives?
Here are some ideas:
- Increase conversation between faith communities where the members differ in race, religion, gender or generation to increase understanding.
- Invite members of these other faith communities into an exchange where members of each community participate in the other community’s worship experience.
- Initiate acts of kindness with those who come into our faith communities with differences or needs that we do not readily understand.
All of these start with “I”. I am the change that I wish to see in the world (widely attributed to Mahatma Ghandi).
Alana insists, “There’s no policy that the government can make to change somebody’s mind. We can’t change somebody’s mind and we can’t change their hearts with policies. We want to change people’s hearts and that’s how we intend on doing it, by getting the masses to participate in love.”
Take the challenge! Post your story on social media with the hashtag #HateWontWin. Then follow the campaign to see other stories.