New York City Council seeks $5 million for hate crime prevention – Sun Sentinel
(New York Jewish Week) – Speaker Adrienne Adams and other members of the New York City Council called for $5 million in hate crime prevention funding at a press conference.
The conference focused on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2022 Digital Hate Report, which brings watch out for anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic messages in line. The report offers details on the infiltration of children’s gaming platforms by hate groups, Russian disinformation campaigns and more.
Those asking for the funding also cited the new Anti-Defamation League report showing a sharp year-on-year increase in reports of hate crimes in New York State and the country.
Adams said at the press conference that the council had previously allocated $1 million for The Hate Crimes Initiative“which supports community groups working to prevent and respond to hate crimes across the city.”
She added that part of the $4 million announced in July 2021 for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders funds efforts to combat hate crimes.
The additional funding would go to the Mayor’s Office for Hate Crime Prevention and community groups.
Adams said that to prevent hate from turning into violence, “we have to get to the root of the problem.”
“One way to do that is to tackle online spaces that foment hate,” said Adams, who represents District 28 in Queens. “The other is to bring our communities together to confront hate and foster unity, understanding and respect that does not allow hate at all to have space to grow.”
Rick Eaton, research director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and author of the 2022 report, said in a press release that the report “highlights the pervasiveness of extremist content circulating on mainstream and alternative platforms.”
“Yet purveyors of hate have a forum right to post, incite and recruit with impunity,” Eaton said.
Eaton noted that NYC subway shooter Frank James gained 180,000 views and 4,000 subscribers from hate speech-filled videos he posted on YouTube.
“It takes a bit of time to get to those numbers,” Eaton said. “For some reason they were never reported by anyone.
Council member Eric Dinowitz, who chairs the council’s Jewish Caucus, said the “harmful rhetoric” surrounding the State of Israel is contributing to rising hatred in the city.
“We are seeing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism masked as legitimate criticism of Israel,” Dinowitz said. “When Jews are beaten in the streets because of Israel’s policy off the ocean, it ceases to become a matter of legitimate disagreements with Israel, and it is a matter of anti-Semitism.”
The NYPD has opened a possible hate crime investigation after a A Jewish man was reportedly beaten at a pro-Palestinian rally on April 20. Last year, at least two men were arrested in the assault on Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man, at a pro-Palestinian protest in Times Square.
Linda Lee, Council Member and Vice Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, called attention to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the city, which increased by more than 300% in 2022.
“I think it’s important for the Asian community to have that voice and stand up in solidarity and unity,” Lee said.
She added that the stats presented in SWC’s new report are “horrific and disturbing.”
“They can and will lead to someone getting injured,” Lee said. “Online businesses profit from this content whether they admit it or not. We must act now.
Other board members present included Jennifer Gutierrez, Mercedes Narcisse, Nantasha Williams, Lincoln Restler and Ari Kagain.
President Adams and Mayor Eric Adams did not respond to requests for comment regarding the $5 million funding appeal.
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