Only a few weeks before the synagogue shooting in Poway, Thomas of Düsseldorf, Germany came to San Diego with colleagues to better understand how our region is addressing the threat of hate crimes and violent extremism. His words are cathartic and catalytic as our region mourns the loss and deepens our resolve to redirect extremism of all forms.
“All the research carried out on how to prevent racism could be put in a nutshell: get in touch. Get in touch with people that seem to be different, that come from a different place, speak a different language, share a different culture or faith. Prejudice, hostility and violence are at the heart of right wing extremism which I focus on in my job at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Düsseldorf/Germany. So contact, communication and co-operation are at the heart of preventing right wing extremism. My visit to San Diego and to Anaheim in April on an exchange in the “Countering Violent Extremism” program was a great opportunity to get in touch with most impressive people who are working hard to strengthen human dignity and human rights for everyone – thanks so much to all the people I met.”
VOICES is a monthly series highlighting direct reflections from participants on our exchange programs, to celebrate SDDC’s 40th anniversary in 2019