SPLC-Teaching-Tolerance

Giving Back Sunday: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Giving Back

Southern Poverty Law Center BannerThe Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that specializes in civil rights and public interest litigation. It was founded in 1971 in Montgomery, Alabama as a civil rights law firm. In 1979, the Southern Poverty Law Center began filing civil suits for monetary damages on behalf of the victims of violence from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, with all damages recovered given to the victims or donated to other organizations. SPLC has been involved in all sorts of civil rights cases over the years, and never accepts any portion of its monetary judgements.

Southern Poverty Law Center HatemapThe Southern Poverty Law Center focuses on hate and extremism, children’s rights, immigrant justice, LBGT rights, economic justice, and criminal justice reform. They manage Hatewatch, which monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right. They also have Hatemap, which shows where different hate groups reside throughout the US. If you think what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend is shocking you need to realize at the time of writing this SPLC has tracked 917 different hate groups in our country. This weekend wasn’t an anomaly.

SPLC-Teaching-ToleranceSPLC’s website Teaching Tolerance offers news on tolerance issues, education for children, guidebooks for activists, and resources for parents and teachers. The Southern Poverty Law Center also produces documentaries, two which have won Oscars. SPLC cooperates with law enforcement, regularly providing information about hate groups to the FBI and police departments.

I had known about SPLC for years but didn’t really get their unique importance until recently. When Standing Rock happened, I began a monthly donation to SPLC. And with what happened this weekend in Charlottesville I had to revive my Giving Back series and feature this organization.

SPLC stands up for the most vulnerable people in our society. They expose hate and injustice in our country, fight discrimination, and provide award-winning anti-bias materials free of charge to American schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center never takes legal fees from it’s clients, and doesn’t accept government funding. They survive helping to fight hate with the generosity of people like you and me. The SPLC site provides a variety of ways that you can donate to support the organization.

Before I get the hate comments about mixing politics and fashion please understand fashion is and always has been political. Clothing and color choices in what people have worn have always been a way to control societies and show power and prestige. For centuries individuals have used their clothing to express their political leanings, to protest against a leader or government, to show community. The clothes you wear are made in different countries, with different laws used or broken to create them and get them to your local mall or mailbox. To pretend fashion and politics aren’t intertwined is naïve and doesn’t benefit you or anyone else involved in the process. I have always discussed politics on this blog and corresponding social media. I don’t expect us all to agree on everything, and understand if you scroll past my political content to get to the capsule wardrobes. But I hope you don’t, and I hope you may read to be a bit more informed, or have a better understanding of someone who thinks differently than you may come to her political leanings. Taking the time to try understand those who have differing beliefs and lifestyles is the key to achieving peace.