Gov. Hochul Takes Action to Combat Hate Crimes in New York
By Yehudit Garmaise
“To anyone who raises a hand, or threatens to hurt another New Yorker, you are picking a fight with 20 million others: starting with your governor,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul, who not only signed new legislation to combat hate crimes, but she called on New Yorkers to better watch out for each other.
“We need to let people [who commit hate crimes] know that there are far more of us than there are of them.”
Before laying out what the New York State government plans to do to better protect groups that are regularly targeted by hate crimes and “go after individuals who do us harm,” the governor said that we can protect each other better by refusing to stand back when others are in danger.
In her efforts to fight hate, Gov. Hochul today focused on increasing “educational awareness.”
For instance, while perpetrators who are convicted of hate crimes previously had the option to participate in hate crime prevention, under NY state law, that training will now be mandatory.
Gov. Hochul also signed a bill that will launch a “statewide campaign about inclusion, tolerance, understanding, and diversity.”
“People should understand that diversity is something uniquely special and has to be protected,” Gov. Hochul explained. “We are trying to capture the hearts and minds before people are radicalized on social media and go down different paths.”
Holocaust education is one of the state's efforts to increase cultural tolerance, said the governor, who admitted, “We don’t want to pretend they have all the answers. We don’t.”
To gather ideas from members of many different communities, senior members of Gov. Hochul’s administration will soon be inviting members to a “Unity Summit,” which will be a “regional listening session.”
“We’ll let everyone from around the state: government officials, advocates, community leaders, religious leaders, talk about their efforts to combat hate crimes, and how we can support them as well,” said Gov. Hochul.
Gov. Hochul also extended the deadline to Feb. 28, for nonprofit organizations to submit proposals to receive security grants from the state’s Criminal Justice Services, which has $50 million to distribute.
The governor said proposals should describe, “all of the avenues you think you can use this money for to protect the people you represent and to educate the larger community.”
“We have awarded already $83 million to more than 600 non-profit organizations to date,” said the governor, who expects to fund 1,000 new safety and security projects.
“We have this money right now. If you have not yet applied, what are you waiting for?”