Mayor announces new efforts to combat anti-Semitism
by Benjamin Fang
Dec 31, 2019 | 1839 views | 0 0 comments | 130 130 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Amid a surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City, and following the fatal stabbing of five people during a Hanukkah celebration in the upstaste town of Monsey, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new initiatives to combat hate.

“We as New Yorkers have the ability to stop the hatred,” de Blasio said in a news conference on Sunday. “We have done it before and we will do it again.”

The city will launch new “Neighborhood Safety Coalitions” in Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park, the mayor said. Overseen by the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, the coalitions will identify and address issues that drive hate-based crimes.

The coalitions will “meet community members where they are,” officials said, including at schools, street corners and religious institutions, to deter acts of hate.

The mayor said the model is based on the Cure Violence movement, where community groups, clergy and police precincts “literally intervene and stop violence.”

“Neighborhood people prepared and trained to see the signs of violence coming to stop them before it happens,” he said. “It won’t just be people of one background in one neighborhood, it will be people of multiple backgrounds working together.”

The NYPD will increase resources and patrols to precincts in Borough Park, Midwood, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg. According to the city, each precinct will have an additional four to six officers per tour.

There will also be increased police presence at houses of worship and during local events, as well as additional light towers and security cameras at key locations. Fifteen light towers have already been installed this month.

“We have to give people a sense of security,” de Blasio said, “and we have to show that this horrible trend we’ve been seeing over the last few weeks will be stopped dead in its tracks.”

The third component of the new effort to combat hate relates to education. The Department of Education (DOE) will be implementing “hate crime awareness programming” next month for middle and high schools in Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park. Programming will include workshops with community partners.

New curriculum materials on hate crimes will also be launched at middle and high schools in those neighborhoods beginning next school year.

“We’ll be providing programming and resources to schools in order for students and school communities to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and to advance learning about hate crimes through historical context and current events,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement. “There is no place for hate in our schools.”

On Sunday night, de Blasio and local elected officials joined the community for a menorah lighting at Grand Army Plaza. He delivered a message to the Jewish community that the city stands with them.

“When you light that candle tonight, know that we stand with you,” he said, “that you should not have to live in fear and we will not allow it.

“We will show New York City, we will show the world who we are,” the mayor added. “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, and we will not let it stand.”

In a statement, Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso said the string of anti-Semitic attacks brings to light the “stark reality” that more needs to be done.

“I welcome the program’s launch in Williamsburg and look forward to engaging with all involved stakeholders,” he said. “Our community and city must be tolerant and welcoming for all.”

Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic commended the mayor for taking the steps to address hate crimes.

“As the steady surge of anti-Semitism across New York becomes an undeniable wave of hate, there is no room for complacency,” she said in a statement. “We will continue taking action until it is undeniably clear that New York will not tolerate hate.”
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