Register for Mix It Up Day on November 9

Register for Mix It Up Day on November 9

If there’s anything that the recent controversy surrounding a simple Muslim community center and the violence fanned by a church book burning, it’s that intolerance and hatred are as alive and well in America today as they were immediately following 9/11—if not more so. Have we learned nothing since then? Do the dozens of Muslim families who also lost loved ones that day—about sixty people who died at Ground Zero that day were, in fact, Muslims—not deserve to grieve, to have a place of solace to retreat to, as well? Rather than fight hate with love—as so many of the religious leaders that people claim to follow advise—so many Americans continue to spread hate, ignorance, and violence, which simply widens the breeding ground for more in kind.

Every year, Teaching Tolerance—a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center—attempts to bridge the gaps between people who are different, to put an end to all of the hatred and misunderstanding, by hosting an event called “Mix It Up Day.” Held at lunchtime at cafeterias all across the nation, this is a project that breaks apart cliques, social routines, and stagnant groups of students—just for a single day—and foster a mixing of people, ideas, and new friendships.

In order to foster understanding and acceptance—and even friendship—people have to go beyond their normal routines, comfort zones, and friendship circles to broaden the scope of their vision. Most of the people I know who do not tolerate Muslims do not even know a Muslim personally—the same goes for people of different sexual orientations, religions, colors, and other differences across the board. How many times have you wished that your father-in-law could only meet your gay friends (or your partner), for example, to change his biased opinion against them? Or that your aunt could meet your Muslim friends to really understand them better, instead of spouting off the same opinions she hears from violent talking heads or book burners?

Mix It Up Day will be held on November 9 this year. To find out more about the special day—or to sign up to host one of your own—please click here.

Teaching Tolerance also has a plethora of other resources, lesson plans, and ideas for educators, families, and communities who wish to foster tolerance and acceptance among their youth (as well as the rest of the community.) To find out more about this wonderful organization, click here.