Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter March 7, 2000

Dear Friends,

At the end of another month, it's not difficult to find new tragedies. The one which will have caught most of our attention was the latest school shooting, which is all the more pathetic because the shooter is as much a victim as the one shot. It is a reminder how hate can take the form of neglect and indifference, and the sheer disregard for anybody or anything but our own desire of the moment. That, of course, affected another family, who saw their young son dragged to death by a carjacker who didn't care. And we were reminded that hate can be found anywhere: a black man thought it right to start shooting whites because they were white. And Columbine High School was hurt again, this time when two more of its students were killed in a fast food store robbery.

Sometimes this just simply gets to be too much. And all the faces and names begin to blur together, and it becomes harder to relate to the many victims. It also is easy to give in to despair, and give up trying to fight this part of our nature and society. It's why we often choose to deplore these events and pass on. Sometimes it can seem to be a fault to focus in on only one victim, as many of us did with Matthew Shepard, but it seems better than some of the alternatives. Doing that can bring the problem back to what it really is: something which hurts people as individuals and is a fundamental attack on the humanity in all of us.

This site is dedicated to the idea that any effort in favor of love and kindness is worth pursuing. When Lee Thompson started up the ancestor of this site, he was concentrating on a continent-wide hike to make that point. It turned into two or three smaller hikes, but in being done at all, they achieved their purpose. We have been concentrating on a related idea in working towards the memorial quilt for the past few months. And, to be honest, we're now searching for another thing to focus on.

The quilt is not yet done, but it is coming along. It looked as if we could finish it with 64 pieces, but then a bunch more came in, and it threatens to push Monie out of house and home! But we really are very grateful to everybody who's been contributing. Each piece has its own story, and they all need to be recalled.

There are some things which did come to our attention over the past month as things we might like to look at. One, just as a matter of information, concerns Matthew. there's a play about him called "The Laramie Project" which has opened in Denver, and which has been getting good reviews, not least from people who knew Matthew personally. You can find out more on our bulletin board.

Similarly, on our bulletin board, we've heard a call for help for a victim of hate who's still alive. Opinions may well vary about Mike Batey, but the opinion of one of us who has followed this case for some time is that this is a classic case of a miscarriage of justice, fuelled by a community's prejudice. Anyway, there's a note on our bulletin board, and if you'd like to know more, have a look at

(http://connect.to/Batey.org).

To our embarrassment, we missed telling anybody about Acts of Random Kindness Week until it was actually occurring. We also blew it in not passing on any possible sites worth looking at. We apologize, blushing deeply. However, one site which might be attractive might be (http://www.kindness.ab.ca). It's a site of ideas put together by schoolchildren in Alberta, Canada. We've added a couple of new links to our site, and hope you find then worth exploring.

Finally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu received an honorary degree in Toronto last month. His convocation speech was quite moving, and did much to give the basis for a way to overcome the pains of past injustices. It appeared as a newspaper article in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail, and if we can work out the means of doing it, may find a way to circulate it to you. It's worth while reading.

We'd like to close by repeating something which we said when we started these newsletters last fall. We're just a group of friends who felt we had to find a way to continue the work begun through the old IHAVE site and the BEAR foundation. We don't have any more status than you have, and we'd like to think that this site is yours. We really do appreciate any ideas or information you pass along: it's vital. Keep those cards and e-mails coming!

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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