By John Finnegan, dean, School of Public Health
August has begun with prominent attacks on two fundamental American values: the right to the free exercise of religion and the belief that all people are created equal.
On early Saturday morning, August 5, a bomb was thrown into the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn. As of this writing, we don’t know who was responsible, but it was a criminal act and possibly a hate crime.
A week later on another Saturday morning, this time in Charlottesville, Va., white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members rallied to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Violence erupted. A car plowed into a crowd of counterdemonstrators killing a woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring at least 19 other people.
Hate is everywhere, and the crimes committed in its name are not anomalies in Minnesota, Virginia, or any community in our country. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, American Indians, people of color, the LGBT community, women, immigrants, and many others have experienced hate in so many ways, some lethal, all with emotional impact.