A message from Tiffany Easthom, Executive Director

November 14, 2016

It has been a struggle for us at Nonviolent Peaceforce to decide if and how to talk about the US presidential election. As a nonpartisan organization, we do not take a position on the politics of any country. We do, however, respond and react to situations where hate, fear, isolation and misunderstanding may lead to violence. It is this concern that drives us to speak up now.

Like you, we are deeply troubled by the escalation of division that is resulting in hate speech, acts of intimidation and violence across the United States ̶ a country that is looked upon to be a standard bearer for equality and justice.

The Southern Poverty Law Center received reports of more than 200 election related hate crimes between last Tuesday night and Friday afternoon. These are incidents reported to one place only, suggesting this number may be just the tip of the iceberg. Public insults, physical attacks, burning of property, hate messaging through graffiti, speech, and social media have the potential to fuel outbreaks of violent conflict, if left unchecked.

This is what dehumanizing another person looks like, fomenting fear and hatred to create the idea of “enemies.” This is what engenders conditions that allow people to perpetrate heinous acts of violence against another person. When we no longer see one another as human, we no longer see ourselves reflected in the pain and fear of others. This is exactly what we witness working in conflict zones all over the world.

This is now both a call to and a pledge of action. Standing up for peace is not simply a hashtag, it is work we must do together everyday. You and I have a window of opportunity right now to interrupt escalating violence.

Together, we will work harder than ever to strengthen human connection and empathy. With your support:

• We will raise the issue of violence and hate crimes through policy, advocacy and outreach work at the local and national level.

• We will continue building up our Crisis Response Fund, so NP can provide unarmed civilian protection and protect space for differences and dialogue, physical safety and dignity.

• We will provide training and share our knowledge, skills and experiences from all over the world to de-escalate tensions, reduce violence and to strengthen local capacity for peace.

Thank you for standing with Nonviolent Peaceforce. If you haven't already, please join us by signing up for email updates, by getting involved in campaigns or by making a donation. Together, we can show the world an alternative way to respond to conflict!

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