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Community Leaders Speak Out about recent Hate Activities in Spokane County

Incidents of hate, vandalism stir community to come together and act


The recent hate activities in Spokane County are acts of intimidation and cruelty and will not be ignored. We continue to strive for a community in which all residents feel safe, where honest disagreement can be shared and discussed and where opportunity exists for all to improve their lives physically, emotionally, intellectually and economically. We ask you to join us in collaboration with other like-minded organizations and people of Spokane County.

Dean Lynch - Spokane County Human Rights Task Force


I am saddened and frightened by the number of racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted events that have happened in Spokane in recent weeks, and I have had many conversations with community members, friends and family across the country who feel the same. 

As I have thought about it more, I realized that all this racism and bigotry has been undercover in our country for a long time, and now that it has surfaced, we have the opportunity to confront it directly. 

My hope is that we will speak out, protect one another, and create new personal and communal connections across lines of faith, class and race.  As we come together to combat the expressions of hate in our midst we will give rise to new expressions of compassion, unity, trust and strength. 

I am grateful for all the freedom we do enjoy in this country, and the ability of human beings to find faith in the midst of hardship, and to care for one another. 

Rabbi Tamar Malino, Temple Beth Shalom


After seeing my post from a few days ago, my neighbor (a Trump voter) came over tonight to talk to us about how we felt. We had a great conversation about the election, what it’s like to be an American Muslim and what some of our hopes and fears are. He is in the military and said that he hadn’t met Muslims before but was grateful that we are neighbors and that he will work to protect our rights.

It was heartfelt and brave for him to come over and I challenge myself and others to reach out and form human relationships with people different from ourselves.

Admir Rasic - Spokane Interfaith Council Board and Spokane County Human Rights Task Force Board


As I am sitting in my office this morning reflecting on the outcomes of the election season, I am saddened by some of the results and encouraged by others. I find myself also reflecting on the phrase on the back of my church t-shirt, “All are welcome.”

There are some days where this is a hard statement to live out because of disagreements and different points of view. Yet we are all children of God. I am also mindful of my African American, Latino, Middle Eastern and Indigenous brothers and sisters who are worried about what the future holds.

To all of you, I say that I will continue to work and advocate with and for all of God’s children to be cared for equally. To my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community, I also commit to standing alongside you and advocating with and for your rights. To my brothers and sisters who follow different faith traditions, I will continue to speak out about your right to follow the faith that you have found your Truth within. To my brothers and sisters who don’t always see eye to eye with me, I will continue to listen to your point of view as I also provide my own. I say all of this because we are all Children of God and I must affirm that all are welcome.

The Rev. Chris Snow, North Hill Christian


In a democratic republic, someone gets voted in. Had the other side prevailed, would there still be this kind of response? Probably yes! But angry demonstrations or weeping and wailing won’t help.

We have to work hard, and be patient and understanding. We have to stand firm in what we believe is right and just for all people, working for justice, mercy and equality. Do not give in to fear, but strengthen your back and your spirit to do the work that must be done.

If peaceful demonstrations give way to angry rants and violence, then the wrong message will be heard. If reasonable goals are set, good work is accomplished. Do not give in to fear. Do not give in to violence. Stand firm in faith that God is present, and that in God’s hands all things are possible.

Tara Leininger, - Metaline Falls First Congregational United Church of Christ


Many of us are shocked and disheartened by the recent rash of hate-motivated incidents in Spokane.  More than ever, our community needs elected officials, law enforcement and nonprofit leaders to come together to send a clear message that Spokane is too great for hate.  Spokane has taken important steps to make that happen.  However, we all need to make sure that this voice is consistent and backed up with action to make sure that everyone in the community is safe and welcome.

Rick Eichstaedt - Center for Justice


I am so proud of our community for standing together against hate at the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force press conference.  Coming together gives us hope in the multi-ethnic communities.   Like other multi-ethnic community members, I have great concerns and am always watchful of the environment. Many times I avoid areas where I feel isolated.  Coming together for the press conference gives me great comfort and it is great to know that we are not alone in this fight and that the community will stand by us.  Let us keep this going for the common good.

Ben Cabildo - AHANA and Community-Minded Enterprises


We live in a nation that prides itself for having liberty and justice for all.  That’s the vision of America, the vision America and this community need to live up to. Some have decided to commit acts to divide the community, to make minorities and people fearful by using “weaponized fear.” It’s time for us—local, state and national elected leaders—to say ‘no more hate.’ We need to stop the rhetoric and live to the vision that is the United States.

Ozzie Knezovich, - Spokane County Sheriff


I am disappointed to see acts of hate across the country and in Spokane.  We do not accept or tolerate hate or the hateful acts of a few in this community. The Spokane community rallies in support.  We need to come together.  We continue to address issues. Hate, intolerance and bias are not welcome in our community.

Spokane Mayor David Condon


This year it has been tough watching the divisive Presidential campaign.  When we see hate in our community, 1) we need to support action now—vigils, community conversations—and plan to prevent discrimination and promote human rights for the future; 2) we need to be models for our children so they learn to be tolerant and open, and stay open, and 3) leaders need to look inside themselves to address their own biases and learn from people they disagree with so they build respect. 

Amber Waldref - Spokane City Council


Five hate incidents targeting minorities in Spokane County in one week deserved a strong response from our elected leadership and law enforcement.  At a Nov. 22 press conference, they declared that hate has no place in our region.  They reassured us they will do everything they can to keep us safe.  They offered ways to partner with law enforcement to report and prevent future hate incidents.  They announced initiatives that will promote unity and safety for all segments of our population.  With Thanksgiving close, I departed the press conference feeling once again hopeful and grateful about living in the great Inland Northwest.

Hershel Zellman - Temple Beth Shalom and Spokane County Human Rights Task Force

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