Many people don’t know that dozens of cross-burnings are carried out every year in the U.S., most of them motivated by racist attitudes. But there are also cross-burnings that happen outside of the U.S.; it’s not just an American phenomenon. Cross-burnings are extreme expressions of racist attitudes, and have a deep and troubling historical significance. A practice that still goes on today, oftentimes people link cross-burnings to the “bygone days” of profoundly racist, violent and segregated periods of our history. As disturbing as it is, cross-burnings motivated by hatred of other races still occur, and all of us working on our film, “Crossing the River,” want to help call attention to this phenomenon, raise awareness, and, through our film, website and social media, call attention to ways to combat racism.
Has a cross-burning occurred in your community? When did it happen? How did your community react?
We’ve compiled a list of cross-burnings that have take place mostly in the U.S., but also Canada and Slovenia, since 2001. While the list is not comprehensive, we hope that this map helps others to become involved, even in small ways, in fighting against racism and fighting against violence — like cross-burnings — in their own communities, wherever they may be.