By Deb Silverthorn
The Texoma Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will walk their walk, and talk their talk, at the 2022 Walk Against Hate.
“Shoulder to shoulder we are strong, and we will stand together to affirm we will not tolerate hate in our world,” said Alex Horn, who is co-chairing the event with Susie Carp. “We are excited to bring our diverse community together for a meaningful morning.”
On April 3, the ADL Texoma region will honor its Heroes Against Hate, the event’s Grand Marshals; these individuals are being recognized for fighting discrimination and leading efforts against hate. The honorees include Froswa’ Booker-Drew, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, Sarah Friday, Max Glauben, Liegea Lopez, Steve Rudner, Kelsel Thompson, Charmaine Solomon, Irma Vargas and Akilah Wallace.
Since 2010, ADL Walk Against Hate events have been held in Las Vegas, Philadelphia and San Diego. The 2022 Walk Against Hate is this community’s third since 2019. The first was in person, the 2020 event a virtual one, and organizers look forward to sharing the experience again in person.
“We know that antisemitism and extremism are on the rise,” said Carp. “We have become accustomed to truly vile and hateful rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle and, while the extremist voice may be the loudest, I don’t believe they represent most of us or the best of us,” she added.
In 2020, incidents of antisemitism and extremism in the Texoma region were up 127%, the numbers for 2021 expected to be higher. “The Walk is a friend-raiser and a fundraiser — and it will be an inspiring morning to come together for the shared value of standing up to hate,” Carp said.
Since 1913, the ADL has fought hate and intolerance; protected free speech and religious freedom; spoken out against antisemitism, racism and bullying; and built respect for diversity. Programs from the Texoma region include its “No Place for Hate® program, which is committed to using the power of positive peer influence to build inclusive and safe schools in which all students can thrive, in 100 elementary, middle and high schools. It also has its “Words to Action” and “Managing Implicit Bias” programs for Law Enforcement. In addition to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the ADL Texoma regional office represents Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Temple, Waco, Tyler, Marshall and all of Oklahoma.
ADL’s Texoma regional efforts include programs for law enforcement about hate crimes, extremist groups and international terrorism; safeguarding civil rights and the separation of church and state through legislative and other efforts; providing security seminars to Jewish institutions; fielding discrimination complaints; advocating for Israel; and promoting interfaith relations.
“Hate comes in flyers, in flags hanging over bridges, it comes in bullying and — as we saw at Congregation Beth Israel in January — very dangerous situations,” said Stacy Cushing, ADL Texoma deputy regional director. “Whether we are educating in the classrooms or at organizations or responding to incidents, we are teaching people to be their own advocates, that hate is not okay, not acceptable and something that ‘we,’ the collective we, will not allow.”
The mainstage master of ceremonies, Texas Rangers play-by-play broadcaster and talk-show host Jared Sandler, will introduce the event’s speakers including Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia.
The Community Expo will include representatives from Buddy Up Tennis, Camp Quest Texas, City of Dallas Welcoming Communities and Immigrants, Human Rights Campaign, Jewish Family Service, Latino Voter Empowerment (LVEC) & March to the Polls, the League of Women Voters, Paul Quinn College, the Thanks-Giving Foundation and Unforgotten Butterflies.
ADL Texoma’s goal for this event is to highlight the diversity in North Texas while celebrating the values of respect and inclusion that are found in this community. Participants can register individually or as a team, and net proceeds of the event support and expand anti-hate and anti-bullying programs in schools, civil rights advocacy work, extremism training for law enforcement, incident response and community support and the ADL Texoma leadership development program for young adults.
“The hostage situation in Colleyville shows that antisemitism is alive and well and that the Walk is an opportunity to publicly show that it and all forms of hate are not tolerated in our community,” said Cheryl Drazin, vice-president of the ADL’s Central Division which includes the Texoma region. “There is something so important about being together, seeing one another’s faces — even if we are masked — to share the message ‘there is NO space for hate.”
Registration and check-in begin at 8 a.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 9 a.m., on Sunday, April 3, at PNC Plaza at American Airlines Center. The actual walk, which will happen rain or shine, begins at 9:30 and concludes at 11 a.m. Both one- and two-mile routes will be set up, and the event is open to the public.
For more details, to register (early bird pricing through Friday, March 25) or donate, visit walkagainsthate.org/dallas. Anyone not able to attend in person can participate in a “virtual walk,” in their own neighborhood, and send in a donation.