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Confronting Fear, Hate, and Racism in America

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A black woman who is a mother of a teenage son, a former prosecutor and a current judge, a Muslim immigrant, and a gay man of Nepalese heritage each have their own daily struggles confronting escalating fear, hate and racism in American.

All three tell their extremely personal stories to Spectrum. All three people have different perspectives but all have similar and sometimes shocking stories of being targeted.

Judge Gayle Williams-Byers of S. Euclid, Ohio speaks from three different perspectives: as a mother, as a former prosecutor (who worked daily with law enforcement) and now as a judge.

She has a 16 year-old son who is just learning to drive. “Judge Gayle” (as she likes to be called) tells how she instructs her son upon going out with his friends to “just come home alive.” She also says that with escalating violence and racism, that Americans are holding a “stick of dynamite in our hands – and it is lit and burning.”

Judge Gayle describes her fears as a mother of a black male teenager and makes some suggestions about how some of today’s racial tensions might be alleviated through less combative forms of policing.

The Muslim immigrant speaks of almost constant harassment and public abuse of his family just because of their identification with the Muslim religion.

After the Orlando mass shootings, he and his family were forced to stay in their home because of fear of some form of public retribution.

One of his children was chased by other children at school as they screamed “Isis” at the young child.

However, even with all of this, he and his family love America and they are hopeful that the situation for Muslims in the United States will improve.

Finally, a gay man of color, Atish Baidya, talks about what it is like constantly to feel “different.” He describes how increasingly as a society we treat certain people and minority groups as “less than human.”

In many of his comments, he sounds pessimistic whether racial tensions and class divides will get much better in America.