When we think of the civil rights movement, our first thoughts are typically of individuals like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But the reality is that the movement depended on thousands of people across America – ordinary people who joined together to produce extraordinary change.
As Robert F. Kennedy said in his famous Cape Town University speech in 1966, “[E]ach of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of these acts will be written the history of this generation.”
Today, the march for social justice will continue only if individuals from every walk of life take it upon themselves to fight for their deepest values.
Each of us can do our part in our own community. Through acts small and large, we can have a profound impact on the world around us.
On this page, we list resources that you can use in your community to fight hate and injustice. The best ideas, of course, are likely to come from you.
The achievements of the civil rights movement in the 1960s wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment and action of young activists. Students are uniquely positioned to have an impact on the national debate about pressing social issues; they act as influencers among new voters who are open-minded about solutions to today’s problems. By establishing organized advocacy groups on college campuses throughout the nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center aims to raise awareness among young people about the power they hold and the possibilities of their activism.
All across the country, people are fighting hate and standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up good people rise up against it – often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities. Our experience shows that one person, acting from conscience and love, is able to neutralize bigotry. Imagine, then, what an entire community, working together, might do.
When exposed to bigotry, people are often unsure how to respond. We talked to Americans all over the country who told us what they did or didn’t say when confronted with bigotry, or in many cases, what they wished they did or didn’t say. This guide offers practical advice about speaking up among your family, friends and colleagues.