[UPDATE: YOU DID IT! In about 3 hours, wow. You’re all completely amazing and I can’t thank you enough.]
Tomorrow, I’ll show you my new shirt, but today is not the day for that. I’m too deeply troubled by yesterday, and by Saturday, and by everything that’s going on. If there’s a tiny silver thread clipping in the dark stormcloud of what we’ve all witnessed in the past few days, maybe it’s that there’s no more denying that the hate movement is on the rise in this country. They’ve rebranded and taken off their hoods, but they’re waving Nazi flags, chanting Nazi slogans, carrying torches like their Klan predecessors, and they feel their time has come — that it’s safe for them to march through the streets, armed and literally hoping for a fight, and showing their faces to the world. And I can’t think of anything quite so chilling as the fact that they’re very pleased — based on their own statements — with the response they got from the President of the United States of America. They are far from new, but they have never felt so emboldened, and we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.
There should be no confusion about this: People who put themselves at risk to confront neo-Nazis (no matter what they’re calling themselves) are not the same as or “as bad as” those neo-Nazis. There are no “very fine people” attending White Power rallies. Having a permit to display your hate doesn’t make it ok.
This is a humanitarian crisis, as I see it. Hate is a scourge — people die — and it’s up to every one of us to combat it however we can. For so many of us, the next thought, though, is but what can I do? The Southern Poverty Law Center posted a guide after Charlottesville called 10 Ways to Fight Hate that you might find helpful. But here’s something I can do: I can help raise money for the SPLC to help them in their daily, longstanding, ongoing efforts to combat hate and hate crimes in our country. After watching yesterday’s press conference last night, I talked it over with my small but mighty team of amazing humans and today we’re giving every dollar we make at Fringe Supply Co. to the Southern Poverty Law Center for exactly that purpose.
I don’t want any of my team or the small businesses we work with or the sewers who make our bags or anyone else to lose their jobs as a result of my giving away all of the goods we’ve invested in, so I do have to cap it to avoid bankrupting us — but at the lofty sum of $15,000. So every dollar you spend at Fringe today, we will turn around and give to SPLC up to $15,000, and I truly hope we get there! That’s my goal. But if we raise even $1500 for them, I’ll be happy to be able to give it. If you’d prefer to give directly to the SPLC (among others), I completely applaud that.
We can’t afford to do nothing.