There is No Place for Hate in Nonprofits
OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO
Last month, the world was shocked by the terrorist attack on a mosque in New Zealand in which 50 people lost their lives. Last year, 11 people were killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. And in 2015, nine people died at the hands of a white supremacist at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C.
All of these crimes happened in places of worship, and those targeted were Muslims, Jews and African-Americans. These houses of worship are part of the fabric of our nonprofit sector, and we – like so many others in Oklahoma and around the world – were shocked by the events and mourned the loss of life. These houses of worship along with our nonprofits should be safe, open and affirming spaces, where people may gather without fear.
There is no place for hate in our nonprofit sector. As recently as last week, someone spray-painted graffiti outside of the state’s Democratic offices in Oklahoma and at offices of the Chickasaw Nation. The racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic language along with swastikas and references to Nazis were disturbing. One of our nonprofit members also offices in the building where the graffiti happened. One of my staff reached out to them to check in because we know that this activity not only hurts, but it threatens.
Last fall, OKCNP received a wonderful award from our Oklahoma Conference of Churches as a community partner. In my remarks, I mentioned that one of the tenets and values of OKCNP and our sector is to love our neighbors – and that means all of our neighbors. Our sector must value diversity and promote a number of virtues.
Over the past two years, OKCNP has partnered with the University of Oklahoma Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. As part of our “cultural consciousness” training and professional development, we promote a series of virtues identified by the institute that are necessary for human flourishing. Three of those virtues center around civic duties of fairness, civility and, most importantly, compassion.
We need a lot more civility and fairness in society right now. And we especially need more compassion, that ever-so-important ability to have an emotional understanding of others’ loss, grief, excitement or anxiety. The nonprofit sector is designed to have a strong emotional awareness, and I hope that we continue to develop this to impart this awareness and these virtues onto others.
Out of tragedy comes hope. Nonprofits have come to aid of those affected by these tragedies. Whether with emotional or resource support, nonprofits are there when we need them most. Even in times of the ugliest and most vile of hate, nonprofits show up and step up to help others. To borrow a quote from the Prayer of St. Francis, “where there is hatred, let us sow love.”