03/18/19 Candlelight Vigil

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis and Rabbi Mike Harvey join the community in an anti-hate candlelight vigil last year.

The Interfaith Leaders of Great Lafayette are asking community members to submit video clips of positivity and acceptance to create a "no hate" video to combat recent incidents of racism and hate.

Mike Harvey, rabbi of Temple Israel and director of ILGL, said he is creating the video to upload online to “flood social media” with the faces of a community that “loves diversity, its neighbor, and detests any phobias.” 

Plastic sandwich bags holding fliers preaching white supremacy and weighted down with rocks painted with the letters “KKK” were thrown onto driveways and into mailboxes last weekend northeast of Battleground, according to news reports. The flyers referred to a Ku Klux Klan group based in northern Indiana.

He said the community needed to be reminded that the individuals behind these incidents “represent a small minority,” but because of complications with COVID-19, it is impossible to gather in person. So spreading the message online is the next best option. 

“If this wasn’t the time of COVID, you bet we’d be on the streets,” he said Thursday. Instead, he wants people to “share (the video) like crazy.”

Harvey, in a post to his personal Facebook page Tuesday, said that while the KKK propaganda is an issue, the “true challenge we face is White Privilege,” citing that often white Christians tell minorities targeted by racist and hateful messages to “just ignore” them and they will go away. 

“They don’t recognize that there is pain and hurt and real danger” for those targeted, he said. Instead, people need to speak out against hate to show it will not be tolerated. 

Eliza Gellis, a member of Temple Israel and a graduate student at Purdue, said she hopes the video will show the supportive voice of the community, both of those affected as well as allies. 

“It shows you do have to respond to hate,” she said.

Harvey affirmed the video will show that “people with hate won’t find fertility for recruitment here.”

To contribute your own message, send a video by noon today of yourself saying a positive message to interfaithleaders@gmail.com with written permission for it to be used.

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