Opinion: A time for unity, not more viral hatred

This 2017 image shows a white supremacist, left, being confronted by a counter demonstrator at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. Many worry incidents of hate crimes and bigotry are on the rise in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This 2017 image shows a white supremacist, left, being confronted by a counter demonstrator at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. Many worry incidents of hate crimes and bigotry are on the rise in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

During these extraordinary times when we are all learning to live physically distant yet socially more proximate, we are seeing bias and bigotry flood our networks. Uncertainty and anxiety are too often laying the path for hatred to flourish. Our push for survival has us forgetting that community is what makes survival possible.

We need each other, now more than ever. And we need to be unified in fighting this virus.

This is not the time for horrific discrimination against our Asian-American brothers and sisters who, while experiencing the same uncertainty and anxiety that we all feel about this virus, are also being victimized by hatred. Our leaders using racist, misleading rhetoric of “Chinese Virus” and “Kungflu” open the doors for further discrimination and has led to some hate crimes against our Asian-American neighbors. It is up to all of us to deny the place of racism and hatred, especially right now.

This is not the time for the spread of antisemitism, a trend that historically always seems to rise in times of uncertainty. Vile, antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Jewish orchestration of COVID-19 or Jewish profiteering from this global public health crisis are running wild on social media, and it is up to all of us to deny the place of antisemitism, especially right now.

This is not the time for xenophobic hatred spewed towards immigrants and the Latinx community, or “I told you so”s about travel bans and hate-building walls. We are seeing the grotesque targeting of undocumented immigrants and the institution of immigration, as people throw blame around for this global pandemic. It is up to all of us to not oppress our immigrants and those who have sought safe asylum, especially now.

This time of uncertainty and anxiety is not the time for hateful extremists to find their messages mainstreamed, or any comfort whatsoever in mainstream narratives.

This is a time for unity.

This is a time for community.

This is a time for love.

As we all figure out life in this temporary new normal, physically isolated from our loved ones, our networks and our lives, this is a time when we need each other and we need love. We need to strongly and unequivocally deny hatred into our lives, and strongly and unequivocally reach out in unity so that we can fight this virus and the hate that it has brought to light collectively, stronger together.

Love, community, and hope keep us alive. Hatred, bigotry, and fear divide and conquer us.

It’s a question of humanity. It’s a question of morality and love. And it’s a question of survival.

Jerry Gonzalez is executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, (GALEO). Allison Padilla-Goodman is vice president, Southern Division, of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

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