There is no silver lining to the situation of rising hate in America right now. There are no lessons we will learn that we couldn’t have learned in some other way–or that, really, we didn’t learn before. There are no tests that we will pass that we ever needed to take. Things that are being revealed to us are things that we always knew were true: white people will destroy democracy to preserve white supremacy.
Still, there are things we can celebrate, honor, and lift up. That includes the courage of people who have been victims of hate and who have shared their insights with the rest of us.
Civil rights activist and lawyer Arjun Singh Sethi has brought together some of these voices in American Hate: Survivors Speak Out. It’s not an easy read, but it is an encouraging one. If the present moment feels too much like Alabama in the 1950s, we can remember how victims of hate then preserved their dignity and used their voices to demand change, and we can find hope in the words of people doing the same now.