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Local initiative establishes the Levine Center to End Hate

 Downtown Rochester skyline view.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

It’s called the Levine Center to End Hate and it will be based at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.

The $1 million comes from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation. Todd Levine is the president of the foundation, which is named after his grandparents, and he led the effort to establish the new center.

He says that he and others have been talking about this concept for several months, in response to an overall increase in more hateful incidents and rhetoric.

And Levine says this new effort is trying to focus on preventing that kind of activity, rather than just reacting to it.

“We’re not positioned to react to tragedy but the goal is to be proactive to try to stop that from happening again, try to stop situations where people hate each other without knowing each other, that’s our goal,” Levine told WXXI News.

He says the idea is to promote education and understanding, in the hopes it will help prevent destructive, hateful influences in the Rochester community.

“Hatred comes from a lack of education, a lack of understanding, a lack of understanding the differences between people and our hope is to educate people and get people to understand differences.”

Levine says his grandfather would approve of this effort to promote tolerance and diversity.

“He was a very kind, loving person, that was very inclusive, both in business and in his personal life and with his friendships, and I think if he was what is happening in our society today, he would be devastated.”

Levine says the new center to end hate will work to educate and help promote diversity and understanding.  It is based at the Jewish Federation, but he says this initiative is meant to go beyond the Jewish Community, and serve the overall Greater Rochester population.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.