ITHACA, NY – Around 50 people came to Cass Park on Sunday for the “Cleaning the Hate” event, hosted by the Ithaca Coalition for Unity and Cooperation in the Middle East (ICUCME).

The event was patterned on a similar event hosted in the Middle East by a joint peace coalition that welcomed both Israelis and Palestinians. That event essentially “went viral” and spread to many other communities, now including Ithaca. The group hopes to make it a regular event going forward.

The goal of the event was to provide something that strengthened and benefited the local community while also supporting the global peace movement.

The community-building element kicked off a performance by Vitamin L, who sang songs about peace and human rights, many of which the crowd sang along with. That was followed by a potluck dinner.

The group then held discussions about what the idea of “cleaning up the hate” means to each individual. At the end the group worked together to do something positive for the community, by cleaning up Cass Park.

“Building peace anywhere in the world starts here with us. It’s about building relationships one person to another,” said Linda Glaser, one of the event’s organizers. “We get stuck in between the blinders of what we believe or what our ideology is, and we stop seeing the person on other side as a person.”

That element of mutual recognition is right in the organization’s acronym: I (see)(you), (see)(me).

Vitamin L performing.
Organizer Linda Glaser addresses the assembled.

(Photos: Michael Smith / The Ithaca Voice)

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.