Thanks to an increase in hate-fueled crimes and bias incidents following Donald Trump’s election as president, Maryland now has its very own hate crime hotline.
Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the creation of the new phone line today. Two days ago, he urged Maryland residents to report any hate speech or bias incidents, and referred to a string of acts of vandalism at churches around the state as “disappointing,” per WBAL Radio.
In his announcement today, Frosh pointed to an increase in reported hate incidents directed toward minorities, Muslims, Jews, women, immigrants and LGBT community members. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the country logged 437 reports of “hateful intimidation and harassment between Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Monday, Nov. 14. Eleven of those incidents occurred in Maryland.
“Sadly, Maryland is not immune to this outbreak, and it is important to remember that our laws prohibit this kind of conduct and provide protection from it,” he said in his statement.
It’s worth noting that Donald Trump did say on “60 Minutes” that he wanted the perpetrators of the hate speech and vandalism to “stop it.” However, it’s hard to say whether that’s working. Many of the incidents have directly referenced the president-elect or messages from his campaign.
Frosh pointed out that Maryland’s civil rights laws and hate crime statutes ban any conduct directed at individuals motivated by the victim’s race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or homeless status. He also said students, both K-12 and post-secondary, can face punishment from their schools if they violate their codes of conduct.
Amid the warnings and air of gloom to his message, Frosh mentioned that these times are an “opportunity” for neighborhoods to come together and showcase the sense of fairness and tolerance that characterize the United States.
The new hate crime hotline number is 1-866-481-8361.
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