The Numbers Have Increased: What Can Be Done About Hate Crimes
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
March 23, 2023
Over the past years there has been a major increase in hate crimes. There are many organizations that follow these types of crimes but for years the agencies have not been reporting on the same platform. Some incidents just remained internalized in police departments. This was brought to our attention sadly when one of our local Rabbi’s was being harassed at his home here in Hallandale Beach and we had no way to see if this individual was harassing others.
In 2020 the FBI started gathering reports for agencies on the new Nation Incident-Based Reporting System NIBRS. Even with this implementation there were many agencies not reporting. Some of the largest cities including Los Angeles and New York which meant the 2021 numbers were under-reported. Even with this lag in reporting, in 2022 it was found that 12,411 people were victims. 65% were targeted for their race or ethnicity. 15.9 % were targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1%. These numbers increased from 8,120 to 9,065.
So, what can be done about hate crimes? First is, “If you see something. Say something.” The next is education. Ignorance and apathy fuels hatred. We all have heard about the fringe Right Wing’s push to promote hatred. Recently they pulled a stunt called a National Day of Hate. Governor DeSantis called on FDLE to address and push back against any possible threats.
For the past years unrest in our county is reminiscent of pre-WWII. Political leaders in the highest offices in and around the nation have been fueling the flames of fear and hate. Some have even exacerbated problems by not nationally calling these groups out. Not only have they been mute on standing up against them to preserve their base, they have emboldened hate groups by saying “they are good people.”
COVID-19 has also hindered the ability to educate our youth on the history of the Holocaust. For years the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center here in Broward would provide a day of education at our High Schools with Holocaust survivors. I have been fortunate to attend them as well as to serve on their Board. Many survivors who were children at the time are passing away so there are organizations here and around the globe picking up the baton to ensure “We will never forget!”
Last week, Commissioner Paul Kruss of Aventura invited local officials to attend an eye-opening event which was hosted by the JCC. HATE ENDS NOW: The Cattle Car Stepping Into and Out Of Darkness. This event is a Shadow Light Partnership between the Jewish Student Union and the Nation Council Of Synagogue Youth.
NCSY is a world-recognized organization founded in 1954 to provide Jewish teens with an opportunity to build a strong connection to their Jewish roots through inspiration and leadership skills. NCSY has many regional boards. Our local one is right in Boca Raton. They have and continue to support virtual tours of Auschwitz and Birkenau for teens, schools and organizations in its service area from Florida to North Carolina. Due to the generosity of a Holocaust Survivor who sponsored this traveling exhibition they have brought the vision to life.
The cattle car is a replica of the ones that transported 6 million Jews to Concentration Camps. Jews were not the only target of hate. Between 250,000 to 500,000 Roman Gypsies, up to 250,000 individuals with Disabilities, 1,900 Jehovah Witnesses and 70,000 Homosexuals called asocials. These numbers come from estimates. Documentation only began in the later part of the war so there were many many more killed.
The car in itself transcends visitors into the darkness. The car is meant to literally hold cattle held by approximately 100 men, women and children. Once in the car, visitors are immersed in a 360 degree virtual historic tour including videos of two survivors who share their heart wrenching story. On the cars for days without anything but two buckets, one for water and the other for defecation. Once the journey was over families were ripped apart only to face certain death.
In the words of Shadow Light. Today there are still genocides and mass killings taking place around the world. And there are extremists in our country who blatantly engage in activities influenced by bigotry. Their rhetoric and conduct are not just warnings for the future, but they are repetitions of history. Paying attention to these signs will not only help us to draw parallels from the Holocaust and current events, but they will also motivate us to explore ways to prevent future tragedies against humanity.
In honor of Israel’s Independence Day, the traveling exhibit is traveling throughout the Nation. NCSY is working to reproduce these cars as a way to educate our youth and future generations. For more information, you can visit their website at: www.hateendsnow.com I also encourage everyone to visit and support The Holocaust Documentation And Education Center in Dania Beach. There you will see an actual cattle car and many displays including the living history of many survivors. For information, visit: www.hdec.org
In celebration of Israel's Independence Day, on Sunday April 30th, 2023 there will be a parade starting from The Big Easy Casino and ending on Hollywood’s Young Circle. Rolling Thunder will be biking from the site up Federal Highway beginning around 12:30 p.m. The parade line up will begin at 11:00 a.m.
As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place! Please feel free to reach out at my Office: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email me at: email@example.com.