NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Many people never thought they'd see the day when a white supremacist would travel to New York to allegedly target and kill black men, but prosecutors say it happened. Now a growing number of voices are calling for an end to the climate of hate they feel is partially to blame.
James Jackson, 28, of Baltimore, pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of murder, including murder as an act of terrorism. Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr. said Jackson prowled city streets looking for a black person to assassinate and then fatally stabbed Timothy Caughman, 66, with a 26-inch sword.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about Jackson at Caughman's funeral.
"We have to understand that the hatred in that man is not isolated," de Blasio said. "It runs too much in our society, through our society. We have to understand the forces of hate have been unleashed in recent months."
These forces of hate are coming in many forms, from vicious social media posts to open hostility of those who are different. But symbols from a bygone era -- like the Confederate flag -- are still around today. The Confederate battle flag is part of the official state flag of Mississippi.
"It represents slavery, it represents white supremacy, it represents the murder, the lynchings of my ancestors and I do not find that acceptable," said Carlos Moore, a civil rights attorney with Tucker Moore Law Group.
Moore has been fighting through the court system to have the flag removed. So far the rulings have gone against him, but he said he is not giving up. Now he is joining forces with Michael Scott from the powerhouse Philadelphia law firm Reed Smith to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I get a lot of individuals -- white individuals -- that call me, contact me privately," Moore said. "But we need the public to know their sentiments and I believe the more people who stand with me that do not look like me, the better we can fight this fight together."
Moore said he believes hate is becoming the new normal. This week the NYPD announced that while overall crime is down, hate crimes are up 100 percent so far this year. Police said the trend began in November with the election of Donald Trump as president.