Local Opinion: Let 2020 be the year of respect, kindness and anti-racism – Arizona Daily Star

Posted By on December 11, 2019

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

2020 is fast approaching and with it comes the thrill of a New Year starting and for some, this brings concerns for what may be: an increase in hate incidents and/or crimes and increase in hate speech both online and on the streets.

Since the start of 2019, Anti-Defamation League Arizona has called out anti-Semitic and hateful incidents, from Flagstaff to Tucson, 33 times, by standing up for Jewish, African American, LGBTQ, Latino and Muslim communities.

Weve expressed our reaction as disturbed, offended, appalled, concerned, shocked, horrified, troubled and disappointed. Never have we been discouraged, as weve also seen the rapid response by law enforcement and the goodwill of many who stand up against hate.

In November, the FBI released 2018 data on hate crimes.

There were 7,120 hate crimes reported in 2018 thats 20 hate crimes per day. The most numerous hate crimes were race-based. Nearly 50% were directed against African-Americans.

There was a 42% increase on hate crimes against transgender people.

Nearly 60% of religious hate crimes were motivated by anti-Semitism. Since 1991, Jews have been the most common victims of religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States.

The FBI also reported that anti-Hispanic crimes went up 14% an increase for the third consecutive year.

What should be the immediate response in the face of these statistics?

This is a time for mobilization. This is a time for courage. In 2018, we witnessed a 23% increase of anti-Semitic vandalism and harassment incidents in Arizona.

The spread of anti-Semitism is not something seen in far away places. Its happening here in Arizona. Its happening in the greater Phoenix area. Time after time in 2019, we have witnessed the posting and placing of flyers or engraving of swastikas on both public and private spaces. We cannot accept normalization of this age-old trope anywhere.

Tablet Magazine author Carly Pildis wrote what needs to be said every day: I believe we must stand up and fight anti-Semitism. It is our patriotic duty, for anti-Semitism is a threat to all Americans.

This is a time to preserve and strengthen our democracy ensuring the protection of the First Amendment and interests of vulnerable communities. This too is our patriotic duty.

One way the league seeks to make an impact on Arizona communities is through its No Place for Hate initiative. It gives schools and communities an organizing framework for combating bias, bullying and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive school climate. Currently, the league Arizona partners with 51 schools across the state, touching the lives of over 50,000 students.

Students participating with the initiative sign a resolution of respect at the beginning of the school year. Within that resolution, students pledge to seek understanding; speak out against prejudice and discrimination; support those who are the targets of hate; promote respect; not be an innocent bystander when it comes to opposing hate; and recognize individual dignity and promote intergroup harmony.

From kindergarten to high school, students declare their school is no place for hate.

In anticipation of 2020, wouldnt it be better for all of us to make resolutions mirroring the ones made by these young people?

We can, for the 365 days of the new year, respect one anothers opinion, act kindly to everyone and demonstrate courage in the face of adversity.

Let 2020 be the year of respect, kindness and courage.

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Carlos Galindo-Elvira is the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League Arizona.

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Local Opinion: Let 2020 be the year of respect, kindness and anti-racism - Arizona Daily Star

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