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IF YOU GO

What: Council Against Hate

Date: Monday, July 15

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: The Camp House, 149 East M.L. King Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37402

The event is free and open to the public.

After spending three months convening in small groups, the members of Chattanooga's Council Against Hate will hold a meeting Monday to discuss their progress.

The council, formed in 2018, spent several months researching ways to address hate at its core and foster and support an "open, tolerant and diverse Chattanooga." It first presented its findings to the public in early April.

Those suggestions were:

1. Advocate for public policies to protect targeted constituencies from hate crimes.

2. Push for more thorough and consistent reporting of hate crimes at a local, state and federal level.

3. Engage young people in combating hate.

4. Ensure educators have the skills and resources to identify discrimination and bias and how to properly address it.

5. Engage the private sector by surveying employers and workers about workplace attitudes, cultures and incidents of bias.

6. Improve the community's media literacy around hate speech and radicalization.

7. Create more cultural programming to foster interactions between people who wouldn't normally interact.

Attendees joined one of seven "action teams" that would be dedicated to developing ways to make those suggestions a reality.

"We didn't just want to talk and create line items and ideas,"said Alison Lebovitz, the council's co-chairperson. "We wanted to put it into action."

One of the ideas action teams have come up with is to conduct a "school climate survey" of Hamilton County schools. That means surveying students, parents and school personnel about their experiences with school life.

Other ideas include creating a "check your hate" bus tour and hosting interfaith worship services.

Allison Goodman, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Southeast region, also will speak at Monday's meeting, with the goal of helping the council understand more about the "landscape of hate in the South."

"We are living in a time right now of kind of a general escalation of hate, and we're seeing it manifest in all different ways," she said. "Whether it be a surge in antisemitic incidents, through these horrific houses of faith shootings and attacks, through skyrocketing data on bullying in schools."

Goodman said the Anti-Defamation League is excited about the Council Against Hate's initiative and hopes it's adopted in other cities.

"We're seeing lots of examples of communities outpouring and wanting to roll up their sleeves and get involved [in combating hate], and I think this council against hate is a really great example of that," she said.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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