HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — People of all faiths and backgrounds walked together down the Harrisburg riverfront Sunday afternoon from the Civic Club of Harrisburg to the Peace Garden and back in a show of togetherness.
The Walk Against Hate is a national event started by the Anti-Defamation League with the goal of bringing people of all backgrounds together to find solutions to prevent discrimination.
There’s no easy solution to ending hatred, but organizations in Harrisburg are looking to try.
“We’re not familiar with each other. We don’t know each other, but when we bring together and we see each other here at a place like this, then you’re not as willing to dislike or hate somebody because they’re different than you. You begin to understand what they’re about,” said Marybeth Lehtimaki, president of the Civic Club of Harrisburg.
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Just this year in Pennsylvania, we’ve seen hate Asian hate crimes related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Racial and ethnic minorities have faced the worst rise in hate crimes in the last five years that they have seen in a long time and religious minorities were not spared,” said Rabbi Ariana Capptauber of Beth El Temple.
Antisemitism rose this summer because of fighting in the Middle East.
“This is an evil that we need to fight and there is no end to it. We can’t relax and say we accomplished it,” Sait Onal, president of Red Rose Intercultural and Educational Foundation said.
The Walk Against Hate is a step in the right direction, showing others what unity looks like.
“We want to create the awareness and bring people together,” Onal said.
Participants say walking against hate is one step, but more action is still needed.
“We have to act against hate by peacefully protesting, embracing people who are different than ourselves and really just advocating for acceptance of all different people,” Stacey Waters, education outreach coordinator with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission said.
Making sure to share cultures with one another and work to build tolerance for those who may look different than us or subscribe to another religion.
“This happens 365 days, every day. When we see badness we gotta go after it and try to stop it. We have to encourage goodness,” Onal said.