A Message from American Conference on Diversity 
President & CEO
Elizabeth Williams-Riley

Death and injury — the horrifying outcome of “Unite the Right” protests in Charlottesville, Va. — paint a clear picture of hatred and bigotry in action. The American Conference on Diversity, its colleagues, and supporters condemn and stand in opposition to perpetrators of hate-based violence upon groups and individuals based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability status, and other social identities.

Today, people who stand for justice, inclusion, and equity are speaking out across the country to let the world know that the national conscience will not abide extremist acts designed to promote fear and harm. We must step up and speak up to confront a growing mood of acceptance and normalization of white supremacy views, signs, and symbols — torches used as weapons, Nazi flags, masked and armed marchers.

There is no place for hate in the state of New Jersey! And in case you think that New Jersey is free of challenges, please note that a 2016 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists 15 active hate groups within the state. As recently as 2015, New Jersey was ranked the fourth highest in hate groups in the nation. Work to erase the impact of these groups begins and continues in our homes, schools, communities, and workplaces and must be intentional, focused, and unrelenting. (For the SPLC’s  new edition of “Ten Ways to Fight Hate” guide, click here.)

At times like this, I am grateful for the American Conference on Diversity’s 70 years of action, including education, community building, and advocacy. Our very intentional response includes:

Working with high-school and college students to provide them with language and understanding that promotes appreciation of and engagement with others of different social identities

Engaging with organizations to build workforces that reap the benefits of acceptance and inclusion of employees, customers, and business partners

Fostering open and respectful discussion and problem solving within communities seeking to move beyond the barriers of hatred to live and grow their best lives

Recognizing individuals and organizations who actively champion diversity and inclusion

That said, I’m keenly aware that we must work harder, faster, and with even greater dedication to remove the barriers to justice and inclusion that threaten to take hold. We see the damage being done and now get to choose our response. Join me in answering these questions:

What will I do today to promote justice, inclusion, and equity in my home, community, workplace, and country?

How will I be identified as part of the solution, instead of part of the problem?

What partnerships can I form to deepen appreciation and understanding of the value and rights of human beings to live safe, healthy, enriching lives?

The tragic events of Charlottesville, Va., remind us once again that we must stand together to fight bias, bigotry, and hatred. It is also important to emphasize that our commitment to social justice be ongoing. Let’s use this painful experience as motivation to stand up to hatred wherever and whenever we can.

The American Conference on Diversity’s mission to build just and inclusive schools, workplaces, and communities through awareness, education, and advocacy is vital NOW more than ever. This is the moment for positive, vigorous action.

Click here to learn how you can unite with us and