It’s amusing what your closet can teach you. When I was a junior at Choate Rosemary Hall, Matthew Hale – leader of the Neo-Nazi organization World Church of the Creator – came to speak in Wallingford, CT. Outrage, coupled with the excitement of childhood, led to my drafting the following manifesto below in the midnight hour. We have so much to learn from our younger selves.
Choate News: Friday, April 27, 2001
“Assertions of an Adolescent: A Message of Youth Solidarity in the Face of Racial Tension”
by Anthea Kamalnath ’02; News Staff Writer
Last Saturday, Matthew Hale, founder and leader of the World Church of the Creator, a group concerned with winning their “RAHOWA” (racial holy war) came again to speak in Wallingford for the second time in two months. Wallingford prepared for his talk on “The Theft of America’s Promise – but Hope for the Future” at the Community Lake, by calling in two hundred state policemen. Attending the rally seemed to be a precarious idea, but to ignore it seemed to show a passive endorsement of the event. In an attempt to find a middle ground between these conflicting feelings, Choate Rosemary Hall held a service in Seymour St. John Chapel for students. The following was written on Thursday night last week. The idea behind this piece was to assert that while most members of the Choate community would not be protesting on the lake on Saturday, we cannot support Mr. Hale’s message. This was not written with the intention of converting any of Hale’s followers. It was a statement of solidarity amongst the youth of Choate in support of beliefs that were being condemned by Hale. Initially, it was supposed to be a petition. The idea, unfortunately, came at about 10:00 PM, so after I finished writing it at 1:00 AM, there was no time for rounding up signatures, much less editing. With the help of Nora Khatib, I was able to post approximately ninety flyers around the lake and in town Friday night, in addition to the forty that made their appearance on the dining hall tables. I have made a few changes to the text, but in order to keep true to the original document, with its midnight spontaneity in style and structure, I have not fully altered it.
We, the youth of today, as we mature into the leaders of tomorrow, bring with us our beliefs, formed not only by the guidance of the adults around us, but also independently by our intellectual growth. Growing up in a world devoid of set values, while encouraged to form our own beliefs, our generation has determined its own set of inalienable rights. Neither god nor government has given us any guidelines, we have realized them by our own personal trials and errors. As citizens of the world, we share these basic rights.
Life may be horrible, life may be cruel, but we are alive. We each have the right to find that happiness in our lives that adds something more important than meaning to our lives. We have a right to our own happiness through living.
As we walk forward, seeing the dawn of our youthful dreams becoming a reality, we march together as one human race, different as individuals, yet equal in rights and opportunity. When viewed from the moon, our earth has no division, no separate states. It is this earth that we are each citizens of. When we journey beyond our known horizons, into the uncertain future, we shall journey together.
Discrimination on the basis of belief, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation is an offense to human dignity. We have the duty to respect one another.
To Freedom of Speech and to Hold Personal Beliefs.
It is through our own eyes that we each perceive the world. Our thoughts define who we are, but violence can never be a means for expression of these beliefs. Nor can freedom of speech ever justify violence.
To Freedom From Fear and Discrimination.
There is no justification for any discrimination either in theory or practice. We have the fight to be free from unmerited judgment. As equals, it is no one’s place to judge another. We shall never have the right to deny another the chance to life or opportunity.
To Freedom From Ignorance.
The right to truth shall always be ours; for every question, we have the right to demand an answer. We have a right to seek the truth. Hatred rooted in ignorance is best removed by education and renewal of hope by planting the seeds of common values.