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Released on Feb 5, 2024
Monday Morning Message 2.5.24 Calling Out Hate

“Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” - John Lennon

“When you hear people making hateful comments, stand up to them. Point out what a waste it is to hate, and you could open their eyes.”  - Taylor Swift

Throughout this 2024 presidential election year, when divisions in our country run deep and are likely to run even deeper, I intend to write regularly about our obligation to call out and condemn hate with moral clarity, our need for civil discourse, our responsibility to defend democracy, and the enduring value of free speech. Most importantly, I will continue to emphasize the need to treat each other – including those with whom we disagree – with respect and understanding.

This morning I am writing to call out and condemn hate.

We recently found deeply offensive anti-Palestinian graffiti in a CSU College of Law bathroom stall. We are grateful to the students who brought it to our attention and immediately reported the offense to the CSU Office of Institutional Equity. We immediately notified the CSU Police and they immediately began investigating. We also worked with the University to ensure that the offensive graffiti was quickly removed. 

The alarming nationwide rise in hateful acts and threats against Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, and Israeli students on college campuses, or anywhere else, is completely unacceptable. We have members of our law school community who continue to struggle in significant and personal ways with the ongoing violence across the Middle East, including some who are living daily in fear for the wellbeing of their families, friends, and loved ones.

We must condemn acts of Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, and antisemitism in the same breath and with equal fervor. Hate-based discrimination has no place in our law school, university, or our country.

Just a few days ago, my wife, Peggy Zone Fisher, announced her retirement later this year after 18 years of outstanding service as President/CEO of The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. The Diversity Center’s never-ending mission is to eliminate bias, bigotry, and racism. Peggy has been a leader for decades in the effort to promote understanding and respect on matters of race, age, religion, sex, ethnicity, culture, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. 

Peggy has taught me and countless others that we are at our best when we speak out, not when we ourselves are attacked, but when our brothers and sisters are attacked. We must view every insult or attack on someone because of the color of their skin, the country where they or their ancestors were born, who they worship, or who they love, as an offense against all of us and the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.

We are living through a defining moment in history. As our nation becomes more diverse, we can find the shared values and common ground that make us all human and connected, or we can sit by while others use our differences to divide and separate us from one another. 

Let’s try our best to walk in each other’s shoes. When we establish a strong foundation of trust, we can withstand those sinister forces trying to tear us apart.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

The views and opinions expressed in my Monday Morning Message are solely my own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the law school or the university.

My best,

Lee

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