These days, it’s hard to look at the news without seeing a story about hate and vitriol somewhere in the U.S. spewed at Muslims, Jews, immigrants, non-whites, women and LGBT persons. That’s why it’s nice to see that this afternoon, a group of Maui High students will stand for stronger ideals: tolerance and acceptance.
At 2:05pm, Maui High students will wave signs against hate on South Lono Avenue in Kahului, in front of the school’s bus-loading area.
Maui High teacher Gregory Jones, one of the organizers of the rally (which he said was not sponsored by any group), said the idea for it started with a muttered but still ominous remark.
“The first part of this was just printing a simple mini poster after hearing a student make a disparaging remark about ‘Mexicans’ (muttered to himself–thankfully–no one has been verbally assaulted in my class),” he said in an email this morning. “Students really appreciated it; it said “STOP HATE” in bold. I pointed it out to them and made sure that all my classes understood that my classroom was a safe place where hate was not tolerated. I forwarded that to the staff.”
But Jones soon decided that he, and his students, needed to do more.
“The idea for the sign waving came about because I was looking at my Facebook feed a few days later, as hate crimes started to ramp up and I said to myself, ‘I can’t just sit here sharing articles on social media, I need to get out there,'” said Jones. “So I messaged another teacher, she liked the idea and we started putting this together. We feel like our students need to hear a clear message from us about what’s okay and what’s not.”
Image: Blake Emrys/Flickr