• <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/956_gis-header.rev.1438012744.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/42/width/1400/height/700/1173_1920x1440-flowerprple.rev.1438986449.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/1690_bean_salad_header.rev.1440175363.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/965_storm-over-acadia.rev.1438015765.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/10/width/1400/height/700/3006_banner1.rev.1507926426.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/760_herbarium-header.rev.1437432472.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/3622_cadillac.rev.1459516421.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/1191_solar_at_prfs_header.rev.1439113526.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/23/width/1400/height/700/805_storm-over-acadia.rev.1437593218.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/769_gardens-header.rev.1437435376.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/23/width/1400/height/700/170_aerial-campus-fall-01.rev.1424623099.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/61/width/1400/height/700/8645_fall_aerial_turrets.rev.1600195593.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/855_collegeoftheatlantic.rev.1437748668.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/3624_osprey-arial.rev.1459516428.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>
  • <div class="intro-image" style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1400/height/700/962_seasidegarden-summer.rev.1438014496.jpg); background-size:cover;"/>

COA professor Steve Wessler urges us to stand up against hate

Steve WesslerSteve Wessler

We must tap into our reservoir of courage and stand up to hate
Steve Wessler • Bangor Daily News

Some will say that the desecration of a menorah in Rockland was not a significant problem. But anti-Semitism is wrong whether from teens or adults. Moreover, I have seen the escalation of words to violence from kids and adults when we remain silent.

I have spent the last 30 years trying to reduce anti-Semitism and racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ actions in schools and communities. I have done this work in Maine, elsewhere in the U.S. and also in Europe.

I have learned that bias and degrading language is fueled when we don’t stand up and say “no” to hate. When we don’t speak up, the haters assume that the community agrees with their bigoted ideas. In far too many situations this leads to more and more serious acts of bigotry and even violence.

For the past 20 plus years I have been conducting focus groups to assess the level of bias and degrading language. Among the areas I focus on are: gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity and religion. I have been particularly concerned with the increase of anti-Semitic bias in schools. Students in middle and high schools in Maine hear so-called jokes about the Holocaust, that “Hitler was right,” that “the Holocaust did not happen,” that Jews “are stingy.” Students say these things to their friends. They also say them to Jewish students. Jewish students tell me that these words are scary for them.

The desecration of a menorah in public resonates for many Jews and others. On Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, Adolf Hitler organized the destruction of Jewish owned stores, synagogues and homes across Germany and Austria. This was called Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass.” Many Jewish men were taken to concentration camps for months. Far too many Jews died.

Read more here…

Steve Wessler has worked to reduce hate crimes and degrading language for 30 years, including leading the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney General’s Office. He has worked in Maine, across the country and in Europe to reduce violence and hate. As an adjunct professor at College of the Atlantic he continues to teach courses on human rights issues, offering such topics as religious intolerance in the U.S., skills for conflict resolution, anti-Immigration bias, and more.