Gillette Against Hate set out to stand up to violent speech and action, and that’s just what they’ve done.
In August 2016 a public burning of the Koran was planned by a small group in Gillette, Wyoming.33
And in a flash that announcement moved Gillette Against Hate (GAH) from idea to activity.
Tanya Leland Krummriech created a facebook page that rallied nearly 50 people around the state to travel to Gillette.
“I knew there were others who were equally upset by this,” she said.
“But sometimes it’s hard to be the first to speak up.”
So two weeks before the publicized burning she did something about it.
While the burning proceeded, a gathering stood in peaceful opposition.
“. . . We create a safe, just, and kind Gillette through collaborative relationships that prevent and respond to hate with community, love, and power.”
(from Gillette Against Hate’s mission statement)
As a result of the counter-protest rally, AJ Bush, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Gillette stepped forward.
In that shared, community event she became co-founder of GAH and has, ever since, been elemental in moving the group forward.
Tanya said her own interest in a collective, non-violent presence in Gillette is beyond protesting.
“What I really care about is getting people to move away from apathy,” she said.
She learned about nonviolent action in her small, eastern Montana hometown.
“My parents showed me that standing up — speaking up — was the right thing to do.”
“Martin Luther King said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right,'” she said.
As an adult and parent, it’s this alignment between King, her parents and others that reassures and fuels Krummriech.
“What I really care about is getting people to move
away from apathy.”
Most of us are uncom-fortable speaking up. Even considering saying something in the face of hatred or bullying is hard. Yet that’s what Gillette Against Hate commits to doing.
They support individuals and back up groups working toward nondiscrimination and protection of human rights.
They speak up on issues ranging from immigration, arming teachers, and freedom of religion to unfair treatment of the LBGTQ community.
In this northeastern Wyoming town of about 32,000, members of Gillette Against Hate hum along in their daily lives.
And all the while they’re quietly doing what is right, when it’s right, simply because it’s right.
Gillette Against Hate’s social media presence continues to be on Facebook.
Tanya Krummreich, founder of Gillette Against Hate, pays close attention to the following groups and their work for social justice:
Pflag: support of the LBGTQ community by family and allies. Find a local chapter here.
Wyoming AFL-CIO (American federation of labor and congress of industrial organizations) focuses on several areas of civil rights including immigration, better pay and benefits, gender equality, quality education and sexual harassment.
Wyoming Equality works for fairness and rights for the LBGTQ community.
Wyo Say No! is a grassroots organization publicly opposing the proposed immigration prison in Wyoming.
Previous Wyoming Social Justice posts of interest:
Climb Wyoming, helping single moms in Wyoming end multi-generational poverty.
Safe Zone offers LBGTQ ally training in person at the University of Wyoming and online. All training is free. Online trainings can be accessed 24/7.
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Ellen Synakowski lives in Laramie, Wyoming.
Her website is EllenSynakowski.com
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”1 — C. West