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"“Reject the Hate in ‘08” Local Activists Counter Racist Appeals to White Voters"

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Barack Obama’s candidacy has put a national spotlight on race in a way which this country has not seen in a generation plus. As the finish line gets closer the question looms: “What will white voters do in this election?” AWARE-LA, a group of concerned white residents and activists, has a launched a nonpartisan public awareness campaign to combat escalating racist attacks used to win white votes.

“In the waning weeks of this election we expect these racist appeals to amplify and increase,” states community organizer Joshua Busch. “These thinly veiled and sometimes blatant racist attacks are clearly an effort by the Right to appeal to white voters’ racist prejudices in an attempt to win votes. Our campaign is an effort to expose this tactic and a call to white voters to reject it.”

“We can’t allow racism to have any place in our electoral process,” continues Busch. “It is harmful and damaging to our communities and society to let it happen. We offer an alternative voice – we are appealing to white voters’ sense of fairness, equality and justice. We believe people should vote based on their own economic and social interests – whichever candidate that might be.”

To get their message out, AWARE-LA created the blog www.DoubleTake08.org. With a peak daily readership of 1,500, the blog acts as a clearinghouse for race-related news, analysis and commentary “from an anti-racist perspective.” This past week AWARE-LA unveiled their new on-line YouTube video “Reject the Hate in ‘08” carrying an appeal to reject racist attacks and innuendos, and a plea to vote based on the issues- not racial prejudice. In its first five days, the video has already been viewed nearly 2,000 times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbWMPrQHcSU

Locally, AWARE-LA is organizing a community event on Oct 25, to call attention to and discuss racism in the ’08 elections. The event entitled, The Ballot Box and Beyond: Race, Elections and the Making of History will feature workshops and a panel discussion with community leaders from such local social justice organizations such as: Community Coalition, the Labor/ Community Strategy Center, Youth Justice Coalition, as well as USC Political Science Professor Ange-Marie Hancock.

“The event is a great opportunity for those who want to hear an alternative voice,” states organizer Clare Fox. “We want to expose the racist attacks used by the Right, and acknowledge that there is racial prejudice among some white voters. But voting based on racial prejudices is an easy way out, and it will set this country back. It’s up to conscious and concerned folks to expose this tactic and tell people not to fall for it.”

“The Ballot Box and Beyond…” will be held on Sat, Oct 25 from 3:00PM to 6:30PM at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, 675 S Park View St. Organizers will be available to conduct interviews between 4:30pm and 5:00pm.

“Attempts to paint Obama as a terrorist and Muslim are simply euphemisms for race” states Fox. “We believe most white folks want to do the right thing, and most will be receptive when presented with values of fairness and equality. No matter who you vote for… racism is intolerable.”

AWARE-LA (Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere, Los Angeles) is a group of white folks working together to combat racism within ourselves, our communities, and the world.

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