Stop Hate: Action Steps for Local Communities

What can we do in our local communities to stop hate and make everyone feel safe? Action steps for community leaders and schools.

The core message of Not In Our Town is that each of us has a role to play in stopping hate and creating safe, inclusive communities and schools for everyone. Read through the brief action steps listed below, find the actions you can take, and share them with others in your city or school.

Community members and concerned residents

  • Find your voice. When you speak up, others will, too. Suggest ideas about how to counter hate at civic, neighborhood and community meetings.
  • Identify community allies, neighbors, and organizational partners.
  • Bring your neighbors together. Reach out to people you don’t know and who have been targeted. Ask your local leaders, law enforcement, educators, and youth to participate.

Ideas: Host a screening of a NIOT film. Convene a community potluck to share backgrounds and history. Set up a video camera at a community event to ask residents what we can do to address hate and intolerance. After their ideas are recorded, ask local students, cable station staff members, or others to edit them and screen the edited video in a community meeting.

Elected officials and civic leaders

  • Make a public statement, released to media, that places diversity, acceptance, and inclusion as a core value in your town.
  • Urge people who have been targeted to come forward, and encourage all residents to stand with their neighbors.
  • Meet with local media: Invite community members and leaders who may be vulnerable to hate to join you in a meeting with media outlets to expose current tensions, and suggest solutions that emerge from these conversations.
  • Hold town hall meetings and community dialogues that allow all voices to be heard.

When leaders are brave, others will follow. Ignoring the problem of hate and intolerance may lead to escalating violence and mistrust. Work with diverse community members to convene a town hall meeting to launch long range plans to build a safe, inclusive community for all residents.


  • Speak up when you witness bias, hate, and bullying.
  • Go to a trusted teacher or campus leader for guidance and support.
  • Reach out and stand with one another and all who are targets of hate and bias.
  • Work with campus or school leaders to show support for student actions to prevent hate.

Young people can galvanize the entire community to stand up to hate. Teach-ins and student actions can not only educate and inspire fellow students but they can also motivate adults and community leaders to act.
Find out more at Not In Our School.


  • Acknowledge hate speech, hate crimes, or bias incidents when they occur and make it clear to the community that this type of behavior is unacceptable. Engage community.
  • Create a forum for dialogue about differences and diversity.
  • Involve students in finding solutions and leading their peers to stop hate and bullying.
  • Inform parents of the issues and the actions you are taking to find solutions.

Find out more at Not On Our Campus.

Law enforcement

  • Make sure responding officers are trained to investigate and report the hate crime or incident. When an incident occurs, connect with community and faith-based groups to demonstrate how community members and law enforcement can work together to provide security, and make sure everyone knows that hate incidents will be taken seriously.
  • Be transparent and open about the investigation into hate incidents; if the preliminary investigation reveals that a hate incident occurred, report this back to the community.
  • Be vocal in the condemnation of hate in your community. Law enforcement leaders can and will set the tone that hate, intolerance, and bigotry have no place in the community.

Find out more at Not In Our Town + COPS.

Faith leaders

  • Discuss the role of compassion and kindness in overcoming hate and intolerance with your congregation.
  • Ask religious school students to reflect on the teachings of your faith as an antidote to hate.
  • Convene a discussion on Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous quote about the need to stand up to hate no matter who is targeted.
  • Reach out to other congregations in your community, especially those who have been targeted.
  • Create opportunities for interfaith gatherings and collaboration on community service projects.

Find out more at Faith Resources.


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