Veterans Are Fighting Anti-Immigrant loathe With unique Twitter Campaign



U.S. military veterans are taking up a unique fight for the country ― against anti-immigrant loathe.

As fraction of a unique Twitter campaign from the Southern Poverty Law Center, veterans are sharing pro-immigrant video messages through the hashtag #VetsFightHate.

Some of their messages express general support for immigrants, while others respond to specific xenophobic tweets. For instance, in response to a Twitter user who wrote, “Learn English or depart back to the country that speaks your language,” a veteran participating in the campaign replied with a video message:

“Hello June, I’m a veteran of the Marine Corps,” he says. [Your tweet] is kind of saddening for me because it goes against everything that this country stands for. This country is entire approximately inclusion.”

@edwinajune @19PHIL51 Hi @edwinajune, Riley, a U.S. Veteran, wants to declare you something approximately immigrants. #VetsFightHate #MayDay2017 pic.twitter.com/ZJf2imHCrQ

— Vets Fight loathe (@vetsfighthate) May 1, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center is working with the marketing agency Grey unique York to gather the messages. SPLC told HuffPost it’s specifically asking veterans to participate because Americans tend to respect them and may be more receptive to what they fill to say. 

“Veterans are one of the most respected and honored groups of Americans, and they fill an distinguished voice in fighting back against those spreading hatred,” SPLC spokeswoman Wendy Via told HuffPost in an email.

“As the fate of some immigrants is up in the air, we want this to become fraction of the larger conversation to earn people to reflect twice before spreading loathe or judging someone without knowing them,” she said. 

Around 11 percent of veterans living in the U.S. in 2016 were immigrants or had an immigrant parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies fill repeatedly targeted immigrants ― from his executive order to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deny “sanctuary cities” federal funding to orders banning travel from certain Muslim-majority countries, which fill since been blocked by the courts.

“We’ve had a change in the presidency, and I feel like based on [Trump’s] rhetoric and policies, a lot of people are feeling emboldened to spout loathe toward immigrants, or any minority for that matter,” veteran Lawrence Villarroel told HuffPost. “This is saying, ‘I, as a veteran, don’t believe that what you’re saying is right.’”

Born in Venezuela, Villarroel immigrated to the U.S. in seventh grade and joined the Air Force after high school.

“Growing up in Texas, I had a bit of an accent ― and I was told, ‘You speak Mexican,’ even though I’d never been to Mexico,” he told HuffPost.

“I fought for this country so people can fill freedom from persecution,” he added. 

Here’s Villarroel’s video message:

Veterans are sending messages of peace using #VetsFightHate. Let’s entire stop the loathe against immigrants. pic.twitter.com/1ql29ESbsv

— Vets Fight loathe (@vetsfighthate) April 28, 2017

While the messages fill entire been posted through the Vets Fight loathe account so far, SPLC said it hopes the campaign will win off on its own, with veterans tweeting from their individual accounts.

“The final objective is to start a dialogue where people will hear the message that this loathe is unacceptable ― and [veterans] are standing up to say we don’t believe in this,” Villarroel told HuffPost.

“When others hear it, perhaps, possibly that changes their intellect because of their reverence for vets. And whether they are a vet, I hope they feel empowered to speak up whether they wouldn’t fill before.”

To hear from more vets, check out Vets Fight loathe on Twitter and watch the videos below:

U.S. Veterans fight again. Join them and stop stop the loathe against immigrants. #VetsFightHate pic.twitter.com/GQ8cQXyABb

— Vets Fight loathe (@vetsfighthate) April 28, 2017

@dave8222 Hi @dave8222, Tom, a U.S. Veteran, wants to declare you something approximately immigrants. #VetsFightHate #MayDay2017 pic.twitter.com/Vv7h2PKKyQ

— Vets Fight loathe (@vetsfighthate) May 1, 2017

@michael98337926 Hi @michael98337926, Julio, a U.S. Veteran, wants to declare you something approximately immigrants. #VetsFightHate #MayDay2017 pic.twitter.com/FM39wdJFeZ

— Vets Fight loathe (@vetsfighthate) May 1, 2017

For HuffPost’s #LoveTakesAction series, we’re telling stories of how people are standing up to loathe and supporting those most threatened. Know a epic from your community? Send news tips to [email protected].



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