IMPACT

8 Times Radical Love Conquered Racism, Sexism And Other Forms Of Hate

Love FTW.

Hatred has been making headlines lately, from anti-refugee sentiments in Europe, to racism peaking on college campuses. So in response, we're celebrating eight radical moments of love that pushed back against hate. 

 

1. When This Syrian Man Fed Homeless People In His New Country Amid The Refugee Crisis 

Alex Assali, a Syrian man living in Berlin, showed generosity by feeding homeless individuals in his new home. 

With hundreds of thousands of migrants from war-torn countries seeking refuge on the continent, Europe has seen a significant rise in anti-refugee rhetoric and violence, right-wing, extremist parties and xenophobic policiesYet, in response to all of this hate, this man still found it in his heart to give back to those who would paint him as a threat. Now that’s next-level love.

 

2. When Zendaya Asked Us All To Love Our Bodies, Despite Messages That We Shouldn't

After Modeliste magazine retouched Zendaya's image from a photoshoot without her permission, the actress posted an epic response on Instagram. Placing the original photo beside the photoshopped version, she called out the magazine for its sexist image manipulation: "These are the things that make women self-conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have."

This isn't the first time Zendaya has called out harmful stereotypes: After the 2015 Oscars, she took down "Fashion Police" host Giuliana Rancic for her racism.  

 

3. When Jews And Arabs Made Out For Peace 

In an epic video for Time Out Tel Aviv, Jews and Arabs met -- and kissed. The video was created in response to the Israeli Ministry of Education banning a book featuring an affair between a Palestinian and an Israeli. This video chose to respond to all of the political animosity between Israel and Palestine with one message: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

4. When Brazilian Women Expressed What May Be The Most Radical Kind Of Love: Self-Love

Somer Nowak, a student from Milwaukee, shot a beautiful photo series of women in Brazil holding billboards, expressing what being a black woman means to them. The project came to fruition after Nowak experienced racism and colorism first-hand in Brazil. These women found the strength to express the most powerful kind of love there is in the face of systematic hate: radical self-love.

 

5. When Communities Supported Their Muslim Neighbors

Americans rallied in support of their Muslim neighbors in Webster, Texas, in the above photo from last December. This was one of many communities that filled the internet and the streets with messages of support for Muslims after the Paris attacks and San Bernardino shooting. Hate crimes against Muslims tripled in the U.S. since the Paris attacks. 

 

6. When This Artist Trumped Trump With The Beauty Of Art

One artist, Conor Collins from the UK, took Trump’s ugly words and transformed them into something beautiful: a piece of art. Trump has repeatedly made headlines for his hateful rhetoric: calling Mexicans rapists, proposing to ban all Muslims from the US -- not to mention his never-ending series of sexist comments.

In his tweet about the piece, the artist said he expressly chose “only the racist, sexist, ignorant and bigoted things [Trump] has said.” Well played, Collins. 

 

7. When An Icon Honored The Transgender Women We've Lost

Janet Mock, a leader of the transgender movement, made cable network history in August when she dedicated airtime on MSNBC to naming the transgender women who were murdered in 2015.

2015 was a big year for the transgender movement. It was the year that Caitlyn Jenner was widely celebrated for coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair. But it was also the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the U.S. To honor the reality of the day-to-day violence transgender women face, Janet Mock chose to show love to those who were killed, on national television -- because the one sure way to allow hate to win is to not speak up.

 

8. And When This Man Played Piano For Parisians After Attacks

German pianist Davide Martello played the piano outside the Bataclan theater in Paris the day after the November attacks. His song of choice: John Lennon's "Imagine." The moment was caught on film as CNN's Hala Gorani reported live from the scene during the CNN morning show "New Day." After the horror of the previous days, including the attacks in Beirut, the song's meaning was a welcome one.  

"Imagine there's no countries / It isn't hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too / Imagine all the people / Living life in peace."