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People United to Stop Hate Symposium, at the Free Library of Philadelphia

‘’Hate has no place in our city or anywhere across our state and nation, yet it poses a real threat that disproportionately impacts people of color, the Jewish community, and members of our LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender women of color’’ 

That statement were said by Kia Ghee, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR), who hosted the People United to Stop Hate (PUSH) Symposium, at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Friday January 6, 2022. By working together across lines of racial, religious, gender identity, and other diversities, Kia said,  ”We can prevent acts of hate-fueled violence and foster a sense of unity. PCHR is committed to doing everything in its power to combat hate and build a tolerant City where everyone feels they belong,’’ Kia added.

Those statements supported by Romana Lee-Akiyama, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. “In order to combat hate, we must continue to share collaborative strategies that build positive relationships in our communities, exercise the power of collective voice, and promote solidarity rather than division,” said Romana Lee-Akiyama. “We are proud and grateful to work alongside our committed colleagues at PCHR, with community leaders, and individuals across every level of government to share useful data and resources on combating hate in our city and state.”

Meanwhile, Somaly Osteen, Program Director of Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia stated,‘’The Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia is looking forward to continuing the collaboration with the ‘’Philadelphia Commissioner on Human Relations to fight against hate crime in our communities, city, and the Commonwealth,” she said. “This symposium highlights the need and calls for all agencies and communities to work together to combat this critical issue.” Somaly Osteen added.

Meanwhile, Corbett Anderson, Chief Deputy Attorney General at the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said that ‘’We thank the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for organizing the People United to Stop Hate symposium,” he said. “Hate and bias tear at the fabric of our communities, our commonwealth, and indeed our nation. This program underscored how all of us – whether within or outside government – have a role in combating hate crime,’’ Corbett stated.

In 2021, hate crimes rose to 347 from 112 incidents in 2020, a 210 percent increase statewide. Last year, in Philadelphia, there were 111 reported hate crimes compared to 88 in 2021, an overall 27 percent increase and a 49 percent increase in confirmed incidents of hate and bias. However, it is important to note that hate crimes are overwhelmingly underreported. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that nearly two-thirds of hate crimes are never reported.

Featured presentations and panels on topics related to hate and bias included: Federal protections against hate & domestic extremism; Hate trends: anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT+ hate; Risk & protective factors for hate in Philly; Report hate PSA: a community-police collaboration to combat AAPI hate; And the Black + Gold Leadership Bootcamp: building Black and Asian relations through dialogue & dinner.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is the City’s official civil rights agency that enforces an important set of laws that prevent discrimination and promote equality. It also facilitates community discussions and mediation, and partners with law enforcement agencies, victim services, and other community providers to ensure that victims of hate and violence receive the support they deserve.

If you or someone you know are a victim of a hate crime or bias incident, we encourage you to contact PCHR by email at pchr@phila.gov or through its anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.

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