One day last September, Ridgefield High School junior Sarah de Lange walked into her art class to find a swastika carved into the table in front of her. \u201cThere was a swastika etched into the big black desk right in front of me,\u201d de Lange told The Press. \u201cI didn\u2019t really know what to do.\u201d Eventually, she raised her hand and let her teacher know. \u201cI don\u2019t think they were really trained on how to handle this, so the teacher just gave me a small knife to chisel it out.\u201d She had heard of other incidents of swastikas around town, but this was the first time she was confronted with it directly. She decided something needed to be done to prevent such an experience for future students. That\u2019s why she\u2019s planning to hold a community event in Ballard Park to discuss racism and prejudice Sunday, June 10. The event, which de Lange is branding \u201cStand Up to Hate,\u201d will run from 2 to 7 p.m. \u201cWe\u2019re going to try to make it sort of a family event, so the community can bond,\u201d de Lange said. The plan De Lange is planning to use the back of the park, where CHIRP concerts are usually held and where anti-Semitic symbols were found last summer. She also plans to use part of Main Street, where there will be chalk artists drawing on sidewalks. She\u2019s looking for musicians to perform at the event, and said she\u2019s reached out to The Nightingales, an all-female a cappella group at RHS. \u201cWe\u2019re also trying to get speakers to come \u2014 people from a lot of different backgrounds to hopefully talk about about how oppression affects them in a lot of different ways,\u201d she said. Glenda Armstrong, president of the Greater Danbury chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will speak at the event. Armstrong said that moving away from hate speech \u2014 like the racist graffiti that has been found in Ridgefield over the last 18 months \u2014 is \u201can ongoing process.\u201d \u201cWe can never say that we\u2019re done, we can never say that we\u2019ve conquered that beast, we can never say that it\u2019s over,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s not a journey, not a destination \u2014 unfortunately.\u201d She\u2019s looking forward to the event. \u201cAnytime you can give someone a different perspective \u2014 a chance to walk around in somebody else\u2019s shoes \u2014 it\u2019s an opportunity.\u201d \u201cEverybody can make a difference,\u201d she added. \u201cPeople can become overwhelmed by the enormity of the issue \u2026 but when they don\u2019t speak up, then silence becomes consent. And all they need to do is speak up.\u201d \u2018The bubble\u2019 De Lange said she\u2019s planning the event with the help of some of her fellow students and BBYO (formerly B\u2019nai B\u2019rith Youth Organization), a Jewish Youth organization she\u2019s a member of. As a young Jewish woman growing up in town, de Lange said, she \u201cnever really felt personally attacked by anti-Semitic acts until I found the swastika.\u201d \u201cBut now that it\u2019s more in my face, I feel like I should be taking action,\u201d she added. Asked what she\u2019d like to see come out of the event, she said she hopes the incidents of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti stop. \u201cI think I\u2019d like to just see these incidents stop, and for people to just be more open-minded. \u2026 I think a lot of people talk about the Ridgefield bubble,\u201d she said. \u201cI feel like some people say that because \u2026 compared to a lot of other places we don\u2019t have a lot of diversity, that maybe can lead to some racism.\u201d The only negative comments she\u2019s heard from people about the event were concerns that more publicity would encourage further acts of vandalism. \u201cI remember that when I first started planning this, people were saying that all the negative attention being brought to the swastikas was sort of egging them on,\u201d de Lange said. \u201cI\u2019ve always thought that positive encouragement is better than negative punishment \u2026 so I hope this event encourages that. \u2026 I hope this event proves that positivity is the way to go.\u201d For more information, visit De Lange's Facebook page for the event by clicking here.