How To Stand Up To Hate Without Being Hateful

"Don't let things slip by. If someone makes a joke, don't just laugh along or dismiss it," Lawrence said. "If we can tamp down on some of the accepted speech, it will send a message. If it's not OK to joke about it, it's not OK to mean it."

She said she realizes that can be difficult, especially when hateful rhetoric arises among family and friends. "Don't back off, bring yourself forward," she said. "Tell them, 'This is who I am, this is what I believe.'" Lawrence said if you care about people, show it.

"There are not necessarily more haters out there, they're just more willing to be seen because they think they have the administration that backs them. They think we approve this as a nation," Lawrence said. "But we don't."

Though the rise of hate groups may take some by surprise, especially people who thought America had moved beyond civil rights clashes, Lawrence said for many people of color or of a specific sexual orientation, the hate has always been there.

What can you do to make a positive difference? Lawrence said support those who are marginalized; and be visible. Participating in vigils is one way to do that.

"Vigils are representation to the rest of the community. We were on a visible street. Let the community see you and know what you're about. That can make a big difference," she said.

She said ABT, which has 35,000 members across Illinois, has plans to open Facebook conversations.

"We will guide it so that it doesn't go into an angry and ugly place," she said. "The way this discourse has gone in the media and on social media has been ugly. We are trying to talk about our views without getting personal or angry or accusatory, because that doesn't help. It's very important to have conversations calmly."

A group of progressive southwest suburbanites has found a way to combat hate through peaceful actions.

Southwest Suburban Activists (find it on Facebook) also held a candlelight vigil in Frankfort's Breidert Park the day after Heyer was killed.

Founder Emily Biegel said the grassroots movement began in January as a "huddle after the Women's March with 10 people at my kitchen table writing postcards to their senators."

The group, which has held unity and pride marches since then, as well as a Nasty Woman art exhibit in June, has grown to some 550 Facebook followers.

"There's a real need, I guess, in the community for people to feel they are a part of something, and a part of something positive," she said.

"It's so easy to become angry. There's a lot to be angry about," she said.

Yes! magazine recently published an article about resisting with love.

"That spoke to me," Biegel said. "A lot of what we do is rooted in that."

She said instead of reacting in anger, group members hold events and write public officials, trying to get them to do their jobs -- "to make our state or country a more accepting place.

"Our events are about spreading kindness, love and tolerance and diversity in our area," she said. "In my opinion the things we are fighting for -- equality, denouncing white supremacy -- are nonpartisan and not controversial."

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