This week, AEO joined forces with companies across the country to Shine A Light and unite Jewish and non-Jewish communities alike in the fight against antisemitism. AEO is centered on integrity and doing the right thing for our associates and customers. We are committed to being the change we want to see in the world and we are proud to support causes that help to dismantle racism, discrimination and inequity in all forms.
Since 2018, AEO has been a proud supporter of ADL’s No Place for Hate program, which educates and empowers youth in more than 1,600 schools across the county to prevent acts of brutality and hatred. We believe that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth and to date, we’ve donated $200,000 to expand the No Place for Hate school-based program.
We sat down with ADL Regional Director, James Pasch, to learn more about No Place for Hate and how AEO’s support has inspired meaningful change.
Tell us more about No Place for Hate.
No Place for Hate is a student-led initiative, which is what makes it so special. The students are creating a positive environment and being the change they want to see by developing initiatives at school that tackle issues of bias and hate. The program promotes love and acceptance and ensures that our K-12 communities are a place where we don’t have hate and students have the tools to fight back against it.
How has the program grown?
We’ve grown tremendously in the last few years, and our partnership with AEO has been integral in our fight to stop hate. Prior to AEO’s donation, we were in less than 10 schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area. As of this spring, the No Place for Hate program has nearly quadrupled locally and is now in more than 33 schools! We know that – thanks to AEO’s commitment – our presence will continue to grow, school-by-school and district-by-district. At the end of the day, it’s about opening the hearts and minds of youth and ensuring we are everywhere we can possibly be. We’re incredibly grateful that AEO cares so much about educating and empowering youth, because nobody is born with hate and it can be unlearned.
What motivates you to educate youth on the importance of combating hate?
What motivates all of us is the obligation we have to leave the world a better place for the next generation. The best way to do that is through education, which I think is the biggest tool in the toolkit to fight hate.
In all of this, I’m thinking about my kids, their friends, and all youth, and I want them to live in a more tolerable, acceptable world. It’s crucial that we’re all a part of the solution. We cannot do the work that we do without the support of organizations such as AEO. That support is what allows this work to be possible.
I’m inspired by the commitment from AEO, the commitment of the school districts, the commitment of the ADL staff and the commitment of the students – who are the most important part in all of this. I know that collectively we will do everything in our power to ensure that love always wins.
At AEO, we have a responsibility to lead by example, which is why we believe we must do our part to create positive change in the world. We’re proud to partner with organizations like ADL and empower youth through their No Place for Hate program. As a company, we want to send a clear message that acts of hate – such as antisemitism, racism, homophobia and bigotry will not be tolerated. Whether it’s through our AEO Foundation, our brands or associates – we are committed to building a better world and we’ll continue to shine our lights and dispel the darkness.