Women Against Hate, United by Love

Hatemongering. It bubbled up from a place where the unspeakable had largely remained unspoken. Its messages found a prime-time champion, and then the unthinkable happened. The power it unleashed prevailed and its spokesman gained access to the loudest, most prominent megaphone in the world.

To many, it was a shock. To some, sadly, it was just more of the same.

Although mass exploitation of hate has been a constant in human history, what is happening now is new to most Americans. Hate today has become supercharged through its glamorization and unflagging support by the most privileged and powerful in our government.

The onslaught of hate speak and hate-filled policies has taken its toll — numbing, normalizing and chipping away at our outrage for the outrageous.

But while hate divides, it also unites. It brings together the appalled and oppressed to respond and resist. This activism takes many forms. “Women Against Hate, United by Love” is ours.

Who are we? We are a collective of women protectors working to dismantle hate and policies rooted in oppression. Our ranks include women of color, trans women, women with disabilities, indigenous women, white women, Latina women, non-documented women, women sex workers, rural women, women who are refugees, women of many faiths and women of no faith.

“Women Against Hate, United By Love” — our response to this attack on our vulnerable and most marginalized communities — is a collaborative, traveling art exhibition and multi-step “anti-hate” campaign united against bigotry, intolerance and racism. Its creative building blocks are stories — powerful, tough, revealing stories told by women working to dismantle systems of injustice and oppression, and to encourage humanness.

This art-based initiative and exhibition uses art to work in a coordinated effort, aligning with women and partnering organizations that support women and families. The artwork focuses on Wisconsin women change makers, shining a light on their stories and what they care about, giving voice to the unheard. The art acts as a conduit to reach people and groups of all stripes. It blurs and blends normal lanes of operation and encourages disparate groups to pull together for the betterment of all Americans.

“Women Against Hate, United By Love” has been presented in gallery showings around the state in cooperation with local organizations and interfaith groups. The art exhibition provides a platform for gathering and discussion, and through sponsored workshops and panel discussions, attendees are given the opportunity to ask questions, engage in community conversation and learn how to become involved. This is art in action!

All who interact with “Women Against Hate, United By Love” are encouraged to be part of an effort to invent a new future — a future inclusive of all and recognizing no barriers. The national response to hate has begun, and leading the charge are those currently centered in the cross-hairs. This transformation in progress, originating from the margins, is simultaneously ironic, inspiring and hopeful.

Jane Bartell and Kelly Parks Snider are the co-founders of Art in Action, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses art to promote social change. The “Women Against Hate, United by Love” exhibition, featuring artwork by Kelly Parks Snider, Rachel Griffin and Leigh Garcia, will be on display at the Overture Center’s Playhouse Gallery from May 11-July 7. The exhibition kicks off LunART’s Festival in Madison and is meant to provide a meaningful and hopeful community experience for all who attend. For further information or to bring “Women Against Hate, United By Love” to your community, contact kellyparkssnider@gmail.com.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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