Kristine Hoover discusses 'Securing Our Democracy'
By Kaye Hult
Kristine Hoover, director of the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies and professor in the School of Leadership Studies, presented a workshop on "Securing Our Democracy: Division and Practices to Create Belonging" at the Jan. 22 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference.
She showed a video of Maya Angelou saying her life may have had many clouds in it, but it also has had many rainbows— people who were kind to her. "I don't ever feel I've not had help," she said, inviting people: "Prepare yourself to be a rainbow in some else's clouds. Be a blessing to somebody."
That set the context for the workshop on understanding hate, mobilizing to address division, engaging democracy and taking on practices that create belonging.
Kristine showed slides of charts and resources to explain about hate and its impact on democracy.
"Leadership is an enactment of values about who we are and how we relate to others to counter inequity and discrimination," Kristine said.
She told of groups who migrated to the Inland Northwest to create an ethno-state of Aryans as part of the Christian Identity Movement. Their Declaration of Independence said Aryans ought to be free and independent as a nation with no ties to the United States. They declared themselves anti-Semitic and anti-government.
The Kootenai County Task Force for Human Rights bankrupted that group in 2001 and turned their land into a peace park. They recently sold it to fund the Greg Carr Endowed Chair of Human Rights at North Idaho College, she said.
Kristine showed hate maps prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, and clarified nuances between labels for different hate acts, such as bias, stereotyping, bias motivated violence and more.
She told of the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force's Hate Documentation Project for Spokane through which individuals can report hate crimes at www.reporthatebias.org.
Kristine celebrated the formation of Spokane's first Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion in December 2021.
To help people deal with change, resistance and threat, she uplifted the power of story to encourage communities and individuals to act for the good.