CHANCELL-ING: Hate Is the Virus We’re Fighting Now

Abstract painting of hands of many different colors, coming together.
We can all work together to fight against hate, Chancellor Gary S. May writes in his latest Chancell-ing column. (Dusan Stankovic/Getty Images)

This month, I’m inviting all members of the Davis community to stand strong and take action in the face of hate.

Through Healthy Davis Together, we’ve already demonstrated how much we can achieve and serve as models for other communities around the nation when we join together. One thing that became immediately apparent during the pandemic was that our results to prevent the spread of the virus were strong because of our collective, sustained and collaborative effort.

A new effort

Blue graphic of Chancellor Gary S. May with text: Gary May Chancell-ing. A town-gown newspaper column.

It’s time to work together again to target the virus of hate. UC Davis, the city of Davis and Yolo County have formed an initiative called Hate-Free Together to take action against the rise of local hate incidents. We invite you to join us in condemning hate, creating safety and cultivating change.

Unfortunately, just in the last year alone, we’ve seen a rise in antisemitism in our community. Nationally, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League reports that documented reports of harassment, vandalism and violence directed against Jewish people are at record levels.

Hate crimes are also on the rise nationally, according to the FBI, which include racism targeting Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Black Americans. We’ve seen violence targeting the LGBTQ+ community, and hate directed toward Muslims, immigrants and people with disabilities.

These incidents occur in our communities and impact our neighbors, colleagues and friends. They cause fear and trauma. But we have the power to try and change these negative outcomes. This is why Hate-Free Together is needed now more than ever.

We can all take action

Our goal with the program is to make sure that every member of the community has an opportunity to contribute or feel supported in meaningful ways. The program encompasses individuals, such as students of all ages, seniors and families, along with local public agencies and businesses.

Hate-Free Together logo with logos for city of Davis, Yolo County and UC Davis

Hate-Free Together comprises three key actions. We will condemn hate and all forms of bigotry, refusing to stand silent in the face of hateful words and actions. We will work to create safety among our diverse community. And, we will cultivate change so we can break the cycle of hate.

In the coming months, you’ll hear much more about how you can get involved. Our initial plans include a series of community workshops, a website with more information and a range of resources and other action plans.

In the meantime, you can stay informed about the program by visiting this comment page. On that webpage, we encourage you to leave comments and suggestions to help us further develop plans.

I’m often asked how I can maintain hope in these trying times. It’s because I’m an optimist, and I truly believe in the power of unity to make a difference. I know this community believes in that too. Let’s make positive change together.

Chancellor Gary S. May’s monthly column is published in The Davis Enterprise and Dateline UC Davis.

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