A letter from Woodhull Advisory Board Member, Carmen Vázquez
June 16, 2016
Hate. Hate. Hate.
Hate against gays.
Hate against women.
Hate against Muslims.
Hate against Hillary.
Hate against Obama.
Hate against Immigrants.
Hate of White people for Black people.
Hate of Jews for Palestinians.
Hate of Palestinians for Jews.
Hate of ISIS.
Hate of Republicans.
Hate of Christian Minsters against homosexuals.
Hate of homosexuals.
Hate of men for women they rape.
Hate of Other.
Hate of difference.
Hate of the people that want to make the America that Donald Trump and his legions of enablers want to take us back to. Them too.
Langston Hughes once implored us, begged us, to let America be the country that never has been but yet must be.
We will never be that country if we don’t admit and confront the hatred that fuels violence.
I applaud and support the calls for gun control. It will mean fewer deaths of people whose only crime is to be hated by someone. I support the calls for taking mental health seriously because more people will be helped to deal with the demons of hate internal and externalized that drive them to violence.
But It won’t end the violence. Because you can’t legislate hate or homophobia or transphobia or sexism or Islamophobia or the hatred of Jews or the hatred of Black people.
Because you can’t legislate hate out of existence. Just as you can’t legislate homophobia or sexism or racism out of existence.
There is a conversation about our culture of hate and otherness we need to engage in as a nation.
It is Important to repeat the words of Lin Manuel Miranda at the Tony Awards: Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.
But it is more important to live them.
In our dailey lives. In our interactions with strangers. In our interactions with family who don’t know us or love us yet.
In our political work.
Like most of my friends I have been crying for days. Crying for Orlando and sisters and brothers Latino and Black who were massacred not just by a gun but by hatred.
We desperately need something beyond the policy remedies offered by gun control and the ubiquitous “If you see something, say something” platitudes of law enforcement.
They haven’t worked and never will.
We need a love movement. A humanity movement. A human rights movement in America. A movement that embraces and fights furiously for the fundamental rights of all human beings. This includes the right to housing and safety and meaningful employments and reproductive choice and the right to the free expression of our sexuality. Civil rights laws and legislative remedies will never be enough.
Changes in gun control will be but a salve. Hate crimes laws haven’t ended hate crimes. They never will.
We need a culture change. A big one.
We need our Justice ministers and our cultural warriors and our political activists to make America the land that has not yet been.
We need to fight for the universal affirmations of our human rights. In America. Now.
We need a revolution of love and hope. A commitment to defend workers who are losing their jobs. A commitment to defend women against rape and the ongoing assault on our reproductive rights. A commitment to end the hatred of racism. A commitment to defend LGBT people from the hatred that keeps killing us. A commitment to defend and protect Black lives everywhere.
A commitment to have that conversation with people who disagree with us as progressives but might be willing to join us against a culture of hate.
We need a different conversation people. A very different conversation.