NEW YORK - Mass shootings targeting specific communities continue to claim innocent American lives. hate speech - especially against the Jewish, Black, and LGTBQ communities, spreads like a virus on social media, inciting toxic emotions and violence.
As the number of bias attacks in New York City and across the country grows, so does the urgent need for solutions.
The 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was an act of domestic terrorism that claimed 11 Jewish lives. Since that tragedy, bias crimes against Jewish people have continued to rise as has anti-Semitic language.
The Community Security Service works with law enforcement agencies and other authorities to protect Jewish life. They prevented an attack in New York City by alerting police to social media postings that contained specific threats.
Evan Bernstein, CEO & National Director of Community Security Service says "The Jewish community is feeling very much on edge.
The director of the FBI is calling out Anti-Semitism as one of the key issues the FBI is dealing with.
The US Department of Justice found that hate crimes rose by about 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Three categories make up 95 percent of the victims - those targeted for their race or ethnicity, their religion, or their sexual orientation.
The mass shooting at an LGTBQ nightclub in Colorado Springs took 5 lives and traumatized many others.
Josh McBride TV host of "Simplified with Josh McBride" says, "I think people need to reject the idea of hate coming from other people, right. if we stand up to those who are spreading hate, spreading lies, spreading misinformation, and by standing up to that and saying that’s wrong, I think that’s the first step."
In New York City, the NYPD maintains a real-time hate crime dashboard that shows incidents and arrests. the NYPD says hate crimes rose 17.8 percent for the first 11 months of 2022 compared to 2021, and were up 132 percent compared to 2020.
In Buffalo, the 19-year-old white gunman charged with murdering 10 Black Americans in a grocery store shooting pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism and murder charges.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James says he was radicalized by online platforms.
Charles Tucker Jr. a criminal defense and civil rights attorney at the Cochran Firm says "There’s a bigger concern that these acts of violence will continue to be carried out because unfortunately, law enforcement is being very proactive in a lot of respects, but they can’t be everywhere."
Tucker says law enforcement cannot keep up with the sheer volume, and parents need to be more aware of how their children’s views of hate are getting shaped. Training in tolerance needs to start early, says Evan Bernstein.
"You’re getting 5, 6, 7, 8-year-olds that are on social media that are seeing things no 5, 6, 7, 8-year-old should ever see that’s formulating how they think about minorities and other people in this world, and it’s unacceptable," Bernstein says.