Updated: Nov 7, 2022
"The U.S. is divided as much as it is obsessed with the cult of celebrity, and hate speech fueled by industry elites only aids in fanning the flames of divisiveness. Words matter. Consequences matter. Bullying and racism are not forms of mental illness, but rather a deep moral crisis. These things are not innate; they are learned. They can also be unlearned through education." — Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman
Recently, BHS CEO Bess Freedman contributed a thoughtful and profound op-ed piece to the Forward, a leading independent Jewish publication. The piece responded to recent antisemitic comments made online by rapper Kanye West, as well as the wave of antisemitic violence seen in our society over the last few years.
"Bullying and racism are not forms of mental illness, but rather a deep moral crisis," she wrote. "These things are not innate; they are learned. They can also be unlearned through education."
In the article, Freedman applauds philanthropic organizations, like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), that are actively working to combat hate speech. Read on to learn more about the ADL and similar organizations you can donate to and support to uphold the cause.
The ADL's core mission is "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." Since 1913, the international organization has worked diligently to fight all forms of antisemitism and violence through advocacy, research, policy work, litigation, strategic partnerships, educational programming, and more. The ADL even works directly with businesses and corporations to provide workplace inclusivity support and training.
An organization that "celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism," the Interfaith Alliance has been a vocal supporter of reproductive health, as well as any causes and polices that challenge bigotry and defend religious freedom. They offer many opportunities for grassroots volunteer work in through their local and regional affiliates.
Previously recognized by the ADL for its meaningful work, the Born this Way Foundation — founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta — uses school programming, research, and cross-sectoral partnership to prevent hate, bullying, and discrimination in schools while promoting youth mental health services. The foundation also supports and fundraises on behalf of dozens of nonprofit organizations, all with the overarching goal of creating a "kinder, braver world."