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Say No to Hate: Lisa Balser

There are so many problems we’re facing, it’s overwhelming: systemic racism, sexism, ageism, inequity, homelessness, marginalization, immigration policy, school shootings/gun violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, climate change … this is an incomplete list, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. Much of it stems from hatred and fear of “the other.” It feels like we’ve lost a basic sense of human decency.

LisaBalserHeadshot
Photo credit: Courtesy Lisa Balser

Lisa Balser is an advertising creative director and a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). She also teaches and develops diversity initiatives for The Creative Circus, and helps nonprofits and for-purpose clients further their causes. In addition, she's the director of the SheSays Atlanta chapter, a global organization focused on the engagement, education and advancement of women in creative industries.

Say No To Hate 1

Lisa Balser: There are so many problems we’re facing, it’s overwhelming: systemic racism, sexism, ageism, inequity, homelessness, marginalization, immigration policy, school shootings/gun violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, climate change … this is an incomplete list, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. Much of it stems from hatred and fear of “the other.” It feels like we’ve lost a basic sense of human decency.

I think racism is underneath so many of our issues, particularly in Atlanta. It affects everything — our educational system, traffic (MARTA expansion being voted down), affordable housing, income inequity, voter suppression, and more.

Say No To Hate 2

Lisa Balser: I wish there was a “best way.” We have to hit it from many angles. And we need to care about the problem enough to become active in the solution.

Vote. Volunteer to take people to the polls.

Schools and workplaces — invest in unconscious bias training to raise awareness, then create workable policies and facilitate ongoing discussion. If you have money, donate it to causes you believe in. If you have time or talent, volunteer. Find ways to use your privilege to stand up and speak out for others.

Say No To Hate 3

Lisa Balser: Protests and marches are an important part of involvement and can be quite powerful to raise attention, as well as solidarity. That said, it’s important to continue the work beyond the march and use the momentum.

Say No To Hate 4

Lisa Balser: Both. While just “liking” a post doesn’t do much (and most of us are likely in echo chambers), social media can raise awareness, organize events, and connect people for good.

Say No To Hate 5

Lisa Balser: The Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Anti Defamation League, the King Center, Temple Sinai Clergy, the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism, SURJ Atlanta (Showing Up for Racial Justice), Staci Fox (CEO Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates), several friends, and my college freshman daughter who is my activism ally!

Say No To Hate 6

Lisa Balser: Vote!!! Advocate. Talk respectfully to people with different views. And don’t stop.




Article

Sunday August 26, 2018 03:18 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing Americans today is our loss of focus on living together as one nation. Because we are more divided in many ways, we are losing ground in the global landscape and will not be able to compete on a global scale if we don't figure out how to work in accordance with one another. | more...

Article

Sunday August 26, 2018 03:30 pm EDT
There are so many problems we’re facing, it’s overwhelming: systemic racism, sexism, ageism, inequity, homelessness, marginalization, immigration policy, school shootings/gun violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, climate change … this is an incomplete list, and I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. Much of it stems from hatred and fear of “the other.” It feels like we’ve lost a basic sense of human decency. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 04:37 pm EDT
I want very badly to name the issues of poverty, wealth inequality, and class oppression, but all of these are intertwined with, and compounded by, the problem of race, difference, and grappling honestly with America’s history and identity. I have a metaphor for this process, it is a cracked egg with the yoke running long. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 05:43 pm EDT
Healthcare is a human right.  That means ensuring that every person doesn’t just have access to health care, but has the ability to afford health care. | more...

Article

Monday August 27, 2018 06:10 pm EDT
Apathy towards injustice is toxic. We have become so entangled in conversational clouds on social media that we honestly feel that ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ are making a direct impact. This helps to a certain degree, but it does not solve the problems plaguing our nation today. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:27 am EDT
The biggest problem facing Americans today is the stark difference between where we have made progress in this country under the Obama Administration and where the Trump Administration is going. With regards to the Trump Administration right now on immigration and voting rights, we believe they are moving in a direction against the values of most Americans. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:38 am EDT
I believe that racial discord remains the most divisive issue facing Americans. It continues to suppress wages for all and promotes anger that leads to violence within the oppressed communities. Remove racist symbolism and implement long-term remedies to counter the long-term legacies of discrimination. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 08:54 am EDT
Of all the global issues facing us, including biggies like climate change and nuclear war, what troubles me currently is the rise of fascism in governments around the world. This is what also troubles me about America. People are emboldened to openly discriminate and hate because our elected officials represent values of hate. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:38 pm EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is partisan politics that removes empathy from the conversation toward compromise on the real issues that are affecting everyday Americans. Everything is viewed through the lens of tribal political division, when the solutions to most problems facing the nation can be solved through bipartisan collaboration. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 02:50 pm EDT
There are so many things that need to be fixed but somehow we need to stop the OTHER mentality. Trying to embrace difference — and understanding that our differences are what make us stronger — will lead to a better unity within our populations. We spend so much time hating and singling out those that are different. If we used that energy to come together we could make a better life for all of us. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 03:53 pm EDT
The continued oppression of marginalized people. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 04:50 pm EDT
Atlanta and America have never participated in reparations for its genocide, land theft, and displacement of indigenous peoples, its kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples, or its destabilization, colonization and assassinations in other nations. So, in 2018, what we are still faced with is the displacement, incarceration, and murder of black and brown people in this city, this country, and this globe. | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:06 pm EDT
The most important problem facing all of us is our increasing inability to work with and get along with those who don't share our views. I know it's a cliché, but "United we stand, divided we fall." | more...

Article

Tuesday August 28, 2018 05:24 pm EDT
The most serious issue for all Americans is the very real risk of our democracy being taken away, which is happening on a daily basis. There are so many issues: racism, human rights, climate change denial, guns, income equality, lack of a universal heathcare system, police brutality, tearing refugee families apart and putting them in interment camps, our status in the world and how we interact with other nations, and a government party in charge that refuses to act in the best interest of the American people. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:05 am EDT
The greatest problem facing USA citizens today, is how to become a global citizen without having an imperialist or colonial mentality. The greatest problem facing Atlanta today is how to move from the white and black mentality to become a multicultural city in action and not in words only. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:25 am EDT
Greed. The only consistent measure of success is wealth. If you’re so good, so smart, so talented, why aren’t you rich? Why should anybody listen to you? You’re accomplished, but if you’re poor, you haven’t “succeeded.” Rich, therefore smart. Rich, therefore good. There’s a paucity of everything, so you’d better have dough. If you’re needy, it’s because that’s what you deserve. Loss of wealth is loss of power, loss of status. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:40 am EDT
The most important problem is the denial of the problem. Most white people have been lulled into the myth of a “post-racial” America. Research on implicit bias and the persistence of numerous forms of institutional racism, including in the criminal justice system, demonstrate the reality of racism in 2018. A much greater threat than hate crimes and organized white supremacists is our inability to address core issues like white privilege and internalized white supremacy. We cannot progress until we have that honest reckoning. Atlanta paints itself as the city “too busy to hate,” but it’s been too busy to do the real work to begin to heal the very old wounds of its racist history. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 08:53 am EDT
The most important problem facing Americans today is the pervasive ideology of white settler colonialism. By this I mean that we live with a way of thinking brought over to America that goes back as far as the English Reformation in the 16th century — the belief that God has ordained a select group of white people to claim land — regardless of who might already have been on it — as a God-given right. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 09:21 am EDT
"The most important problem facing Americans today" is that we have so many problems that rotate in and out of first place that we cannot choose and therefore cannot answer the question. The second part of the question is easier (for me). Atlanta's most important problem is a subset of a national problem.  | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 02:45 pm EDT
A decline in trust. We're losing opportunities to get to know each other. We spend all kinds of time and money creating our own private, secluded spaces, both in the physical world and online, where we don't have to encounter people who look or think differently than we do. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:12 pm EDT
The most urgent problem facing not just Atlanta, but all of humanity, is the fact the U.S. is now ruled by a fascist regime (Trump/Pence) set on reshaping society in a way that will be catastrophic for humanity and the planet. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:23 pm EDT
The rise of white supremacy. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 03:52 pm EDT
How to get people to follow The Real Donna J. Trump instead of Donald J. Trump. This is true throughout the world. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:14 pm EDT
One of the most important problems facing America is the widening income inequality/economic mobility gap. For many, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream they will never realize. Many of the social and political challenges we are dealing with today stem from this problem. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 04:40 pm EDT
The list is long and it’s all really important. But most of the things on that list have a root cause, and I think it’s greed. People’s desire for power and wealth outweighs their humanity and their ability to see humanity in others. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 05:31 pm EDT
The most important problem facing us today is the threat to our democratic system. That threat is probably based in the racist, sexist politics espoused by Donald Trump and embraced by his ardent base. His positions, frequently tweeted, have allowed many to come out of the closet in expressing their own long-suppressed beliefs. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 05:45 pm EDT
The lack of self-awareness as a nation. Our unhealthy lifestyles and how we conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis. This constant tug of war of who is right and who is wrong is a never-ending cycle that adds more fuel to the fire. It doesn't help when the main purpose on people's minds is to obtain wealth by any means. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 06:14 pm EDT
Rampant greed and hiding behind increased property values. White privilege. Entitlement. Spoiled bitches. Career politicians. Condos. Bro culture. Okay, bro culture isn’t an important problem, I just hate it. I think class war is at the foundation of all of this. Gentrification. I moved to Atlanta because it was cheap. Now it’s not. People hide behind property values like that justifies their actions. Personally? I want the weirdos and artists around me because they’re not lame. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 06:27 pm EDT
(Inter)Nationally, the most important problem facing Americans is income and wealth inequality. In Atlanta, segregation is the most pressing issue. | more...

Article

Wednesday August 29, 2018 06:40 pm EDT
The search for truth is the most crucial problem in America today. Trump has a base of 35-40% support, over 90% among Republicans. The GOP has gone all-in on this cult of personality in return for tax cuts, deregulation, and conservative court appointments with the long game of overturning Roe v Wade. | more...

Article

Thursday August 30, 2018 07:29 am EDT
We believe that one of the most significant problems facing Americans today is the risk that our nation will regress to a time when we were divided, both legally and socially, based on race, religion, and ethnicity. These divisions have always existed in America, but in recent decades, it seemed those walls of division were breaking down. Old wounds were healing and diverse communities were joining together. That changed with resurgence of racial hatred and religious bigotry heralded by the Trump Administration. Like the monster in a horror movie, white supremacism never truly died, and now it has returned with a vengeance, catching our society while we were complacent. Defeating it, once and for all, is perhaps our greatest challenge. | more...

Article

Thursday August 30, 2018 07:55 am EDT
We are divided. Always have been. The civil rights fight is on going; the civil rights fight is ever growing. The color of America is constantly changing. There is color in America. Just because Sesame Street is color blind and integrated doesn’t mean Main Street is … We have made progress as a community but we have a million miles to go. The great experimental melting pot is still in the boil … many countries are just now in search for the elusive harmony we have at times felt in the undertow of what sometimes seems an unnavigable sea. | more...

Article

Thursday August 30, 2018 08:44 am EDT
The biggest problem, in the U.S. overall and in Atlanta, may be the relative lack of significant, meaningful communities where we engage personally with people across racial, social, gender, and ideological differences. We have never had a time in U.S. history when we have as a society really promoted such groups. At their best, however, religious communities, school, social service organizations, and even the military can promote such interactions. | more...

Article

Thursday August 30, 2018 08:51 am EDT
People getting sucked in by drama and taking the bait that created the division in the first place. It causes people to focus on our differences instead of our commonalities. We are so much bigger than affiliations. We have so much more in common than not. Regardless, we should show respect and love each other. Do unto others, love thy neighbor, etc. … | more...

Article

Thursday August 30, 2018 08:59 am EDT
I think the most important problem is the splintering of people into different tribes and factions, aided and abetted by actors (domestic and foreign) for whom it is profitable to emphasize and encourage this trend. This includes corporations, the media, and government — not all, of course, but whenever institutions get to the point where their leaders forget the institution’s mission and focus more on its survival and growth, this is a danger. One major issue is the growing inequality of wealth and opportunity between a few people at the top who are getting wealthier and the majority of people who face serious obstacles to getting ahead. Racism and misogyny are other manifestations of this problem.  | more...

Article

Sunday September 30, 2018 11:59 pm EDT
A Q & A of Atlanta locals regarding Civil Rights and current political climes. | more...