Raising funds to combat hate

[UPDATE: YOU DID IT! In about 3 hours, wow. You’re all completely amazing and I can’t thank you enough.]

Tomorrow, I’ll show you my new shirt, but today is not the day for that. I’m too deeply troubled by yesterday, and by Saturday, and by everything that’s going on. If there’s a tiny silver thread clipping in the dark stormcloud of what we’ve all witnessed in the past few days, maybe it’s that there’s no more denying that the hate movement is on the rise in this country. They’ve rebranded and taken off their hoods, but they’re waving Nazi flags, chanting Nazi slogans, carrying torches like their Klan predecessors, and they feel their time has come — that it’s safe for them to march through the streets, armed and literally hoping for a fight, and showing their faces to the world. And I can’t think of anything quite so chilling as the fact that they’re very pleased — based on their own statements — with the response they got from the President of the United States of America. They are far from new, but they have never felt so emboldened, and we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

There should be no confusion about this: People who put themselves at risk to confront neo-Nazis (no matter what they’re calling themselves) are not the same as or “as bad as” those neo-Nazis. There are no “very fine people” attending White Power rallies. Having a permit to display your hate doesn’t make it ok.

This is a humanitarian crisis, as I see it. Hate is a scourge — people die — and it’s up to every one of us to combat it however we can. For so many of us, the next thought, though, is but what can I do? The Southern Poverty Law Center posted a guide after Charlottesville called 10 Ways to Fight Hate that you might find helpful. But here’s something I can do: I can help raise money for the SPLC to help them in their daily, longstanding, ongoing efforts to combat hate and hate crimes in our country. After watching yesterday’s press conference last night, I talked it over with my small but mighty team of amazing humans and today we’re giving every dollar we make at Fringe Supply Co. to the Southern Poverty Law Center for exactly that purpose.

I don’t want any of my team or the small businesses we work with or the sewers who make our bags or anyone else to lose their jobs as a result of my giving away all of the goods we’ve invested in, so I do have to cap it to avoid bankrupting us — but at the lofty sum of $15,000. So every dollar you spend at Fringe today, we will turn around and give to SPLC up to $15,000, and I truly hope we get there! That’s my goal. But if we raise even $1500 for them, I’ll be happy to be able to give it. If you’d prefer to give directly to the SPLC (among others), I completely applaud that.

We can’t afford to do nothing.


97 thoughts on “Raising funds to combat hate

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am in Canada, we are not immune to racism (despite what some may think) and must speak, act, resist. If anyone is looking for a good book to read right now, Debby Irving’s “Waking Up White” is worth the time. Helps me understand my role as a white person in an unfair world. Off to purchase, credit card in hand.

  2. It is such a crazy world that I was proud of Pence for standing up and naming names, and Ryan as well. Not usually happy when they speak or act. If nothing else good comes from this it is that all but one of our elected reps seems to think this is a bad thing. Too bad that one lives at 1600 PA avenue.

    But enough of that – I applaud you for taking this step and I hope that you hit your goal!

  3. I can’t thank you enough. Keep speaking out. Keep making this a priority. Keep using your privilege as an Internet voice with a loyal following to do what needs to be done. Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Karen, et al, for stepping up and out against this assault on (what should be) our common values. Can’t think of a more worthy recipient of your generosity than the SLPC. Headed over to the shop.

  5. Yes, you are so right. And what a lovely gesture!!!!! I know that this decision is not an easy financial one for you, yet you are doing it. xxx

  6. I am an American living in Canada, and it pains me to see what’s going on “down south,” as Canadians often call the US. To top it off, both my parents and son live in Washington, DC so there’s no avoiding a trip down, but frankly I’m scared. But I have to take my fear and use it, not let it use me, and I applaud your action here. Frankly, I’m a little skeptical sometimes when people offer to give 5% or something to a cause; that feels more like capitalizing for profit rather than capitalizing for people. We’ve got to be strong and make our voices heard. Thanks, Karen.

  7. Bravo! I know small businesses run a risk when they get political, but as you say, this is not a time to do nothing. I have so much respect for you and everything you’ve done with Fringe, and I applaud this generosity!

  8. Hi Karen: The SPLC is a worthy group. As an idea for next time (because there will be plenty of opportunities!), maybe donating to a Black-led group that is doing work would be a good idea? Again, nothing against the SPLC, and I think this is a great move on your part, but in a time of blatant white supremacy, it would be a thoughtful move to donate to a black or brown-centered organization. There are many PoC groups doing good work around white supremacy. Off the top of my head, SONG (I have no affiliation but I learned of their work and think it’s fantastic) http://southernersonnewground.org/ or Law for Black Lives (as a lawyer I’ve taken a training they’ve done and a) it was excellent and b) I really love their approach to empowering communities to fight back against hate) http://www.law4blacklives.org/

  9. Kudos to you for making a sacrifice to help support what you believe in. I watched yesterday’s press conference live because of my job and immediately turned off the tv and took my dogs for a walk and then I knit for a bit to help calm myself down. Sadly, I’m not surprised by any of this, the rallies, the president’s response…I’m exhausted. As a person of color I’m scared. I already worry about my husband and what might happen if he’s pulled over by a police officer and now I find myself worrying more and more about the hateful rhetoric and open pass the president seems to be giving people to spew more hate in the world.

  10. You are very right. I’m in Brazil and we are not immune to racism either. The way this hatred is showing up in different corners of the planet is very frightening. I applaud you also for taking this step!

  11. absolutely wonderful. its things like this that raise my spirits and give me hope. thank you

  12. Thank you for taking this stand, Karen, and I hope you will have a huge response. My budget is snug, but I’m placing an order for a couple of little items including needles…and you can be sure I will be putting hope into every stitch. xoxo

  13. Doing is my new mantra. It’s not enough to say the politically correct thing. Action is needed by those in government and those in the private sector as well. Thank you for your actions. I will be dividing my donations between the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti Defamation Leauge, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, and The Holocaust Museum. We all must take action, as words alone are easily lost.

  14. I am in Chicago and want to let you know how much I appreciate your commitment to the SPLC. I have been a contributor for years, and this year gave additional money because they are doing such important work. It is also dear to my heart because my parents supported the founding of it in Montgomery, AL. when I was an infant. We are all diminished when one of us is the target of hate. Thank you for your generous commitment and wise words.

  15. Thank you for this. As an immigrant non-white woman, I have watched the developments of the last year with mounting horror. Hate is on the rise in my native India too. For me the bright silver lining in the dark cloud is comprised of the loving and compassionate white people who are speaking up and acting, and saying “not in my name” and “not in the name of this country.”

    Thank you.

  16. Words are important, but action is so much more. We can’t and we won’t accept this. I’m so proud to call you my friend. xx

  17. I think you are doing what we all should do, speak up for all people, when we see hate. We are all equal and we are all alike and should be treated with respect. I also think these hate groups should not get the publicity they are after. It only glorifies them in their heads and spurs them on. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away but it also does not promote their cause.

  18. Thank you for your commitment .
    Will shop with you, and continue monthly donation to SPLC. Thank you for speaking!

  19. Thank you so much, Karen. You are such a good writer, and while I love what you lend to the knitting and crafting community with your talented voice, to see it used in this way today, makes me deeply proud. Going to shop, credit card in hand. XOClare

  20. Thank you, Karen. I am an African American in Chicago and I am scared. When I go downtown from the North Side, the bus crosses the Chicago River and you can see the Trump Hotel with the name TRUMP in exceedingly large letters. Since Sunday protests have been held as close to the hotel as one can get since Saturday. I gave to the SPLC last Christmas and, after yesterday, I decided to make a contribution today. I ran into my congresswoman last night at the restaurant where my husband and I were having an anniversary dinner. We had a good conversation with her and will be going to her house for an event in a couple of weeks. Again, thank you, Karen.

  21. This southern woman thanks you. We all must open our eyes, get off our seats and speak out against these atrocities. I will look for ways to speak out in my own community.
    Again, thank you.

  22. Bravo Karen! We all need to do something to ensure that our country does not continue in this awful direction we are headed, whether a donation directly or through small business like yours.

  23. Thank you, Karen. I just made a purchase to help you meet your goal. Hope you succeed and I, too, will look for other ways to combat hate.

  24. Thank you! I was watching all this unfold yesterday and made a mental note to make a donation to the SPLC…I was even happier to do it with you. Yes, action should be our new mantra..

  25. Thank you, Karen! I actually bought one of your wonderful canvas bags yesterday at Knit Purl. I’m happy to indulge myself in more of your fine products while helping such a worthy cause. We all need to stand up now.

  26. Thank you! The week after the election I started up monthly donations to SPLC, ACLU and Planned Parenthood. And continue to speak out whenever I have the opportunity.

  27. I just placed an order to say THANK YOU-I have gained SO MUCH from your blog since I first signed on some 2 years ago. Not only knitting and sewing skills but how to be a Better Person on this planet we share with billions.
    I heard that Heather Heyer (the young woman who was killed) was an anti-bullying advocate at a young age. I am old enough to speak out these days but I applaud those who knew it was right as a child. I have also learned that being unafraid takes courage but it does get easier and feels soooo good:)

  28. Brava, Karen. Thank you. And I hope you have record sales today to reward your generous heart and spirit.

  29. I have faith that all of our combined efforts will produce a positive change, looking forward to helping you meet your generous goal!

  30. Like you I am absolutely devastated by the events in Charlottesville and the president’s reaction to it.
    It was sadly ironic that I had a debate with a middle aged white man, on Saturday, where he professed that white men are the most descriminated upon group in the world. WTF! He was upset that the sidewalks in downtown Red Deer, Alberta had rainbow chalk on them. Our city was celebrating inclusiveness for the LGBT community. To him, this was special treatment. Sadly we have problems in Canada as well.

  31. Thank you for doing this. It means a great deal to this white immigration lawyer/activist/knitter from a white, black, and brown skinned immediate family.

    I’m particularly moved, lately, by these words from MLK, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

    “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

  32. After reading these comments, I feel I must make a couple of statements.

    Why is it that “1 terroristic Muslim does not represent all Muslims, but 1 White Supremacist represents ALL Trump voters” ???

    Why does seeing “TRUMP”, the word, terrorize people? He has denounced the KKK and other White Supremacist groups since 1990’s. The PRESS just does not tell the truth about that. Demand truth from your news source. Real truth, not their interpretation of it.

    Do you know that actual dates are being changed in history books? Do you know that actual events are being re-written in history books? Are you aware what passes for “history” that is being taught in elementary schools these days? Perhaps you could investigate those happenings.


    Do not discredit half of America, and encourage more hate. We need to accept each other for what we DO, not for whom we vote for.


    • This is not about left or right or Democrat or Republican, from my perspective. (The fact that everyone wants to make everything a partisan issue is a huge part of the problem we have in this country right now.) Anyone who believes white people have supremacy over everyone else is a white supremacist. Anyone who is horrified by that needs to stand up and say so. Plain and simple. There’s no party aisle running down the middle of the matter, and I’m happy to see the bipartisan backlash last night and today.

    • I did not see that Karen mentioned Trump voters; she only mentioned Trump’s response.
      As a teacher, I hope that things ARE changing in history books, as they are pretty white washed and exclude the contributions of women, indigenous peoples, and African-African Americans.

  33. I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a noble effort to combat evil. And I wish you good luck in reaching your goal.

  34. Thanks, I just made a donation. One of the founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center came and spoke at my college (over 15 years ago now). It was a fascinating talk!

  35. Awesome. Thank you for doing this Karen. Your writing is so on-point. Today, at least I feel blessed to have a compatriot like you. And I can’t wait to get my Stowe Kit!

    I am not a parent, and I am not involved with many youths at this time. But when I taught art over the past few years, some of my students would use their classroom essay writing assignments to compose polemics justifying their particular world-view – even if the assignment was to respond to Susan Sontag or Marshall McLuhan! Then, when it came time for discussion, all were mum. I found this to be a frustrating part of the job and did my best to steer them toward scholarly practices and critical thinking (even if it meant spending all of my free time responding personally to each of their assignments in writing). I guess I point out my experience because a lot of this is taking place on our college campuses and tensions are really high throughout. There’s this over-arching, extremely loud cadence against the “PC Police” (instructors). The hate groups are actively and aggressively recruiting (conservative-leaning) students who might present signs of loneliness, insecurity or dejection. Their presence is meant to be an aggressive affront to everyone, but especially to students of color, queer students, immigrant students, disabled students and first-generation students. The hate groups and the Alt-Right have made it their mission to disrupt learning – the very thing that could be the antidote to this growing Fascism.

    Thanks again though. Also, I’m going to start my Welcome Blanket today.

    • “The hate groups are actively and aggressively recruiting (conservative-leaning) students who might present signs of loneliness, insecurity or dejection. ”

      This is terrifying, and eerily similar to how ISIS recruits. I enjoyed your thoughtful, astute comment, thank you.

      • Eerily similar, yes. And generously funded too. There are several 501c3 orgs who are dedicated to ruining “liberal” professors. One is called Professor Watchlist, and they are under the umbrella of a much larger non-profit called Turning Point USA, another org dedicated to enlisting and converting college students to the “Conservative” cause. They receive funding in the millions from mostly unnamed donors. They often are the ones footing the bill for those provocative speakers that show up to the “liberal” campuses – the likes of Ann Coulter, Milo, Spencer et al – and which then generate counter demonstrations and usually the ensuing brouhaha.

        • Please be careful about equating conservative ideas with hate groups, as it is a false equivalency. I could be wrong, but since we are discussing hate groups here, that is why you brought up the point of groups that work to promote conservative values. Let us not create further division among people who have different values, but who both find groups such as the KKK and neo-Nazis to be repugnant!

          • Both Professor Watchlist and Turning Point USA are responsible for malicious behavior and bankrolling known White Supremacists’ provocative appearances on college campuses. That they use the mantel of “Conservative” is on them.

  36. Karen,
    Thank you for taking action. I have followed you for the last few years and am placing my first order today. I’m proud to know that there are like-minded people out there who are willing to begin a unique positive movement where I can proudly participate.

    • Thank you for saying this. It is important to note that LOTS of people identify with conservative values that have nothing to do with the racism, xenophobia and hate on display last week. Creating an equivalency between conservative values and bigotry does not help the situation.

      That said, I understand and sympathize with people who say they look on a Trump Hotel or whatever and feel terror in their souls. The GOP at the moment really does feel like a fascist political machine.

  37. Thank you for using your time, your voice and your resources in the fight against hatred in the United States.

    Next week, six of us are traveling to an area of the United States notorious for several high-profile hate crimes (and who knows how many unreported acts of intimidation), simply because we want to watch the total solar eclipse, and because that area just happens to be closest to our primary vacation destination. I will be the only white person in the group. We have talked about what might happen if someone — emboldened by white-supremacist groups, who are in turn emboldened by Trump’s recent statements — decides to act against us. (Sadly, this includes law-enforcement officials: you can bet we’ll be checking the condition of our rental car’s tail lights at every pit stop!) We’ve talked about whether I, as the white guy, should be our group’s spokesman, just in case anything happens. (A role I’m willing, but sadly shouldn’t, need to play.)

    For too many people, it isn’t that “things have come to this.” For my friends and others, this is daily life. We must all work together to change this — and Karen, this effort of yours today is an important piece of that work, at every level.

    Thank you.

  38. Thank you for speaking up and stating what so many of us feel so eloquently. And thank you, too, for taking action as we all must do.

  39. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to you for your bold and thoughtful statement. I am impressed with the comments by others who follow your blog. The community found here is heartening and the sentiments expressed remind me of the power of women’s voices and intentions. Love one another…

  40. Thank you Karen. I’m happy to place an order today. I am profoundly depressed by the statement Donald Trump made yesterday and feel as if any way I can help is good. I’m 74 and do remember
    Many people running from German Nazi’s and some memories of the survivors of WWII. My Dad was a Marine and my family lost friends in the war. I can not imagine our Country willing to give Donald Trump his way and supporting the evil that invaded Virginia and threatens to invade the rest of our Country.

  41. Thank you, Karen. Well said and well done. Since I missed the cap, I will donate directly to the center. (Since the election, I have been trying to donate regularly to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, in the hopes that my little contribution will support folks who know how to fight the good fight.

  42. Thank you for this. I was raised in Virginia and now live in Canada…and hate graffiti has just turned up here as well. Every word and deed to combat this matters.

  43. Thank you thank you! I missed my chance here but will donate directly. I was just thinking, as I scrolled through my craft/knitting/sewing Instagram feed, about the cognitive dissonance seeing all these pretty happy things juxtaposed with the real world events. THANK YOU for acknowledging it!

  44. Thank you for your bold stand against the hate group of neo-nazis. A very small group should not dictate who we are as a nation, and individually as a person. As a conservative I condemn those who are defined by hate, and all those conservatives I know feel the same. We will not be defined by those few who are looking for attention.

  45. Happy to send the SPLC a donation today. Thanks for raising awareness.
    As others have posted above, we are not free of racism up here in Canada.

  46. I don’t actually need anything (I am not a very good shopper!) and I know you already reached the generous giving limit, but I want to support your business so I am ordering anyway, and am happy it’ll go to your business. Thank you for doing this. It means a lot.

  47. Karen, this is the most wonderful gesture. I’m sending a donation to SPLC as soon as I finish here and I’m going to buy some supplies so the sewers and other workers at Team Fringe can continue to work and grow and fight the hatred spewed by the alt-right.

  48. I’m proud to be among the people who supported your drive. Thank you so much for your statement against intolerance and hate. And I’m happy to join SPLC as a monthly donor.

  49. Karen, thank you for taking a public stand on this issue. I appreciate your courage.

  50. Thank you. SPLC has worked tirelessly on behalf of many marginalized communities, including those who are also affected by poverty and disabilities, for many years. (My adult son has significantly different abilities.) Thank you for your courageous action. In Canada we face many of the same issues, but I’m glad to be free of the NRA and 2nd amendment tropes, which make things that much scarier. (I’m an American just obtaining Canadian citizenship this month.) You are an inspiration to me. Order placed.

  51. I am too late to contribute in this way, but I wanted to say a great big thank you to you, your team, and your patrons. I absolutely agree- we cannot afford to do nothing. Well done!

  52. Thank you for this! I appreciate the way you discuss these issues head-on, something not enough people are doing these days. I’ll be donating to the SPLC directly today.

  53. Thank you so much! I wanted to do something & supporting the SPLC is great!
    Your work & words are helpful!

  54. Karen, congrats on reaching your goal for this wonderful thing you chose to do! I posted a comment here this AM – and RT’d and made a little purchase – but I think my comment got routed into your spambucket. So I’m coming back here to try again, just to make a point of saying Thank You! for taking a personal stand in a meaningful and public way. I hope the positive response you will undoubtedly get will FAR outweigh any criticism. All the best :)

  55. Karen, Just bought the Field Bag, have been eyeing it for sometime-so glad the money is going for a worthy cause. As a teen of the 60’s I thought we were better than this and past it all, it makes me so so sad. Thank you Karen.

  56. Thank you for this. I missed the chance to go through your shop so I just donated directly to Southern Poverty Law Centered. Karen, your choice to offer this donation, and the comments here in support, are strengthening and inspiring.

  57. Karen, I am just now looking at your blog today and am so moved by what you and all these great Fringe folks did. As I buy from you frequently, I decided to make a direct donation to SPLC instead, which I’ve just done. I will continue to support Fringe Supply and am even more dedicated to doing so in recognition of today’s message.

  58. Karen, the responses here, and the speed with which you accomplished this goal, is a real tribute to you. It is also a bright spot in an otherwise very ugly time. It gives me real hope! XOClare
    P.S. I will be shopping from you forever, dear girl.

  59. Thank you for doing this Karen, for speaking up and for supporting! I missed the window by a few minutes, it seems, but was planning to donate to SPLC today, already. Guess I’ll just have to top up that donation by a bit. ;)

  60. I just made a relatively small order from you to support your efforts despite the fact that my order will not provide funds for SPLC. I will donate to SPLC or another appropriate organization separately.

  61. I wanted to say thank you again by making a purchase from your shop. Please keep speaking up!

  62. Pingback: Here and there | Fringe Association

  63. As a Canadian (married to an American), I am deeply troubled by what is happening in your great country – and spilling over into mine! It’s easy for Canadians to feel complacent at your “crazy clown President” and the haters he is inspiring – and I’m so thankful you and your customers are speaking out and saying this is not the country you want to live in. Thank you.

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