El Paso. Crown Heights. Charlottesville. In the year 2020, when you hear the names of these cities in one sentence, you likely think one word. Hate. These vibrant, beautiful communities have endured some of the most horrific hate crimes in recent history. The rise of anti-semitism and hate crimes in America is alarming, and as a recent column in the Washington Post points out, “there is a common thread in the varieties of anti-Semitism: a determination to blame the other.” Here at OVM, we are determined to chip away at that dangerous blame game by sharing stories, having difficult conversations that matter, and reminding us of our common humanity.
Dena Marks has engaged in these conversations going all the way back to childhood when her parents were involved in the civil rights movement, and showed her by example how to confront hate head on. She has made that her life’s work for the past 20 years and now serves as Senior Associate Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Southwest Regional Office. Sadly, Dena and her colleagues have their work cut out for them as the ebb and flow of hate continues its iron grip on our society. But as Dena shares in this week’s episode, there is always room for hope.