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Union-Tribune To Host Forum Addressing Hate, Bigotry Wednesday At USD

 June 5, 2019 at 11:12 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Tonight, the community will come together to talk about how to deal with hate and move beyond it. The form is called confronting hate, bigotry and ignorance. Panelists from across the country all deeply impacted by hate. We'll be there to share their stories of moving their communities forward. The San Diego Union Tribune is partnering with the National Conflict Resolution Center, the John B Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice and University of San Diego to sponsor tonight's conversation. Joining me to talk about this event is publisher and editor and chief of the San Diego Union Tribune. Jeff Light. Jeff, welcome. Speaker 2: 00:35 Thank you for having me. Speaker 1: 00:36 Hate certainly touched this community when the Havato of Poway shooting happened, but planning for this event, uh, was underway long before that tragedy. What inspired tonight's forum? Speaker 2: 00:47 Yeah. Steve Dixon, who's the president of the national conflict resolution center. And I had been talking, uh, just in the week before the shootings in Poway back in April about an initiative that he had begun in the faith communities of San Diego to begin taking on, um, antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism in our community. And then these terrible events happen just that very weekend. So, Steven, I got back together and, and, and thought about, you know, how can we reach out nationally to the other communities who have gone through what we're going through and share their insights about what can be done to, to combat the, the, the rise, the rise of hate in America. Speaker 1: 01:36 I, as you mentioned, from coast to coast, each person on, on tonight's panel has been directly impacted by hate. Um, can you tell me a little bit more about them and their experiences Speaker 2: 01:46 tonight? There's four panelists and an opening speaker. The, the opening speaker is yesware, Al Goldstein, the rabbi of the, about of Poway, uh, who is, uh, uh, was wounded in that attack and has become a really charismatic spokesperson for battling hate. Um, and then nationally, uh, we have, uh, people from Charleston and Charlottesville and a Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as well as Pittsburgh. So in each of these cases, there have been hate attacks in those cities. Uh, the tree of life synagogue, uh, I think, uh, 11 people were killed, um, in Charlottesville. I think just one person was killed when the white supremacists drove into the crowd. Uh, 40 people were injured hand in, um, in Charleston. Uh, the attack on Ame church there, I believe six people were gone down. So these are all people who have been directly impacted by incredibly traumatic events. So I've spent a little time with all of the guests and they're remarkable people and, uh, I'm really forward to hearing what they have to say and to see them together on one stage. Speaker 1: 03:03 And one of the topics of discussion that they'll be talking about tonight will be the path forward. What else do you see as a way forward for the San Diego community? Uh, after the shooting in Poway? Speaker 2: 03:14 Yeah, I mean, this is, uh, uh, uh, obviously such a difficult and multilayered problem both here, uh, and, uh, nationally though the rise of hate and violence, it seems, you know, not a, not a week goes by where we don't hear about some horrible, uh, occurrence. Um, in talking to the, to the speakers, uh, you know, I think in part it, it's a, a fairly humble solution that has to do with building strong communities, strong institutions, strong churches and schools, and ultimately strong families that are based on, uh, um, fellowship and, uh, and, uh, strong, uh, the ability to communicate, um, to really, you know, we're, we're in this digital world where there's so much overwhelming media and messaging and people have lost a little bit of contact with one another and, uh, out of that alienation, uh, and arises, uh, anger and, uh, and ultimately it makes people vulnerable to these hate messaging that leads to hate actions. So, um, you know, I don't think we'll hear a magic wand tonight, but more and appeal to some of the basics that we know build, uh, build strong communities. Speaker 1: 04:43 Speaking of that digital world this morning, youtube announced it will remove videos that advocate for white supremacy, neonazis and other bigoted groups. What's your reaction to that decision? Speaker 2: 04:54 Where is that line between freedom of speech, freedom of expression, a fundamental to America and uh, uh, the kind of regulation do you see in Europe or in Germany for instance, where, uh, hate speech and, uh, um, uh, untrue statements and certain topics are criminalized, right? So I guess I don't really know where that line is to good. That's a great debate to be had. I do think that we have all a underestimated the power of a, of propaganda and the, and uh, a radicalizing power of untrue messaging, especially in the world of social media. So this is a much bigger problem though. I think we had when we were dealing with information that moved at the speed of a printing press today with information moving at the speed of light, connecting everybody everywhere at all times. I do think it's changed the nature of the problem. It's really a big thing for us to grapple with as a society. Speaker 1: 06:02 Impact. Could a band like that have on spreading messages and images of, Hey, you think Speaker 2: 06:07 there's a lot to think about there? Um, it could, uh, simply drive it further underground, right? Just because it's not on youtube doesn't mean it's not on four Chan or eight Chan, um, or deeper into the dark web where it's really hard to regulate things. Uh, on the other hand, I personally find myself a little spit sympathetic to this idea that a hateful speech, propaganda and lies, uh, are true dangers in our society and we need to find a way to combat them. Speaker 1: 06:41 And what do you hope people will take away from tonight's forum? Speaker 2: 06:46 Yeah, I think the, uh, the audience here, uh, uh, who will be at USD are, are, are, you know, the most motivated, um, uh, civic engagers who, who, who really want to go out of their way to, to, to figure out what can we do. So I think it's a, the kind of message that sort of travels from person to person. So those three or 400 people who will be there tonight, I think we'll go back to their communities and their neighborhoods and start these conversations about, you know, how can we take stock and really get a handle on these problems that are running out of control. And that we've now seen in San Diego. Speaker 1: 07:27 I've been speaking with Jeff [inaudible], editor and chief of the San Diego Union Tribune. Jeff, thank you so much. Speaker 2: 07:32 Yeah, thanks for having me. Speaker 1: 07:34 Tonight's event is from six to eight at the Joan be clock institute for Peace and justice. Speaker 3: 07:39 [inaudible].

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The forum is called Confronting Hate, Bigotry and Ignorance. Panelists from across the country and San Diego, all deeply impacted by hate, will discuss their experience and how to help communities find a path forward.
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