Standing strong in the face of hate | Editor’s Notebook

I became sick to my stomach when I heard that the sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond was vandalized again last Saturday morning.

Just when the MAPS community was healing from the first incident on Nov. 21, it happened again. The surveillance video that the Redmond Police Department released on Monday is disturbing as the suspect hammers at the new sign on Saturday.

This has got to stop.

Reporter Samantha Pak covered the new sign dedication on Dec. 9 and told of how faith, government and community members showed support for MAPS in their time of need. About 200 people attended the event, including Redmond Mayor John Marchione, and the feeling of unity was strong in the face of hate.

On Monday, I attended the Hate Free Zone rally in the Fisher Pavilion auditorium at Seattle Center, not only because the MAPS incidents would be addressed but because I wanted to be there with the elected officials and community members in declaring Washington a hate-free state.

When I walked by people I didn’t know, we looked each other in the eyes, nodded our heads and smiled. Everybody is in this together. Not only on that day, but every day.

I spoke with event leader and Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) prior to the rally and she noted that people will rise above the incidents at MAPS and in other cities and stand strong with each other.

I also met with Aneelah Afzali, executive director of MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network), before the rally and she said with her fists clenched together that love is greater than hate, which she later told the crowd from her spot at the speakers’ podium.

Lynne Dodson, secretary treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, also spoke at the rally and her passion and vital words made an impact on the crowd.

“When you pick a fight with one of us, you pick a fight with all of us,” Dodson said referring to women, men, people of all faiths, immigrants, the LGBT community and more.

That message struck me then, remains with me as I write this and I’ll keep it with me at all times.

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Don C. Brunell is a regional columnist.

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