By Emily Drooby
Different religions and ethnicities, but all of the people at a pop-up food pantry held on Wednesday have something important in common: the desire to stomp out hate through kindness.
How? By doing so through a food drive, which was put together by two different religious based-groups. The initiative, which is being run by the Met Council is being called, “Hate Has No Home Here.”
Working towards unity is something Msgr. Alfred LoPinto says is crucial right now.
“The country is falling apart,” the monsignor said. “Division seems to be more prevalent than it has been in the past.”
In the first four months of 2021, NYC saw a 73% increase in hate crimes, including attacks against the faithful.
“We’ve had a mosque vandalized within the last few days,” explained Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez. “We’ve seen a surge, last year, in anti-semitic crimes and this year, in the last few days, we have a few Catholic institutions and other property vandalized.”
The district attorney’s referring to the crucifix torn down in front of St. Athanasius Church in Bensonhurst and a statue depicting the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, which was defaced in front of the diocesan offices.
“I grew up as a Catholic and to see images of our saints and others being desecrated is heartbreaking,” Eric said.
Asian Americans are under attack too. Hate crimes against the Asian American community has skyrocketed in 2021: five times higher than last year. That’s why the food drive initiative began – to fight against hate.
It’s a partnership between Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and the Met Council – one of the most prominent Jewish nonprofits.
Two different religious groups and volunteers from all different backgrounds, like the Chinese American Planning Council, are coming together to help feed 400 families.
“It’s so heartbreaking to see hungry people standing in line for food in this country, but on the other hand, all these groups coming together to stand up against hatred, brings hope,” explained Robert Newman, the chief policy officer for the Met Council.
Looking out for one’s neighbor – no matter their background – are the first steps in creating a more unified city. While hate might have ‘no home here’, love, acceptance and kindness certainly do.