Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime

Fighting hate by networking resources

CAHC reconnects with Lane County — November 13, 2017

CAHC reconnects with Lane County

November 13, 2017

The Coalition Against Hate Crime is a state-wide organization with partners across Oregon. We’ve pledged to strengthen our ties with groups outside our Portland base. After a rise in hate crimes and activity in the Lane County, we decided to hold our November meeting in Eugene.

Hate, bias incidents are on the rise in Eugene

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There was great attendance at the November 9 meeting at the Health and Human Services Building. Attendees included representatives from the University of Oregon Police Department, UO-ASU, FBI, US Attorney’s Office (Eugene), Eugene Police Department, City of Eugene Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement, Trans*Ponder,  Lane County Human Rights, The No Hate Zone,  Emily’s Fund, The Jewish Federation, Lane County Administration, and the Department of Justice Community Relations Services.

Among the topics discussed were the effectiveness Eugene’s very thoughtful protocol for responding to hate crimes and incidents. There are also now plans to organize a hate crime forum in Lane County in early 2018, similar to our Portland forum on August 12. The DOJ/CRS will again be facilitating the event.

We greatly appreciate the commitment of our partners across the state. This spring we will be looking to host a meeting in the Ashland/Medford area.

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How We Respond to Hate — August 27, 2017

How We Respond to Hate

August 26, 2017

On August 12, the Coalition Against Hate Crime, with the assistance  of the Department of Justice – Community Relations Service, held a free forum, entitled How We Respond to Hate. The forum, hosted at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, had a capacity audience. The original motive for the forum was to help the city heal and respond to the May 26 Max train attack, but the events occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia that weekend were on everyone’s mind. Much networking was done and there was good coverage from the local media:

Portland leaders discuss hate crimes

The forum was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Emily’s Fund and with help from the Genocide Studies Project at Portland State. Emily’s Fund also made available “HATE NOT IN OUR TOWN” yard signs that participants took home. The day was built on three important panels, with the participation of committed community leaders.

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Welcome and Introduction 12:30 – 12:45 pm:

Randy Blazak, Coalition Against Hate Crime

Law Panel

Law and Law Enforcement Panel: 12:50 – 1:45 pm

Responses to hate from local and federal law enforcement agencies

Moderated by Knight Sor, DOJ/Community Relations Service

Caryn Ackerman, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation – Oregon

Hannah Horsley, U.S. Attorney’s Office

Jeff Sharp, Portland Police Bureau Bias Crime Detective

Sheriff Pat Garrett, Washington County

Jeffery Howes, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office

Community panel

Community Voices Panel 1:50- 2:45 pm

Perspectives from communities that have been the target of hate

Moderated by Harpreet Singh Mokha, DOJ/Community Relations Service

Gurpreet Kaur Singh, representing the Sikh community

Seemab Hussaini and Zakir Khan of CAIR-OR, representing the Muslim community

Steve Wasserstrom, Reed College, representing the Jewish community

Reid Vanderburgh, PFLAG, representing the LGBTQ community

Resource Panel

Resource Panel 2:50 – 3:45 pm

Preventing and responding to hate

Moderated by Amanda Byron from Portland State’s Conflict Resolution Department

Hillary Bernstein, Anti-Defamation League

Rachel Cunliffe Portland State Conflict Resolution

Shweta Moorthy, Portland United Against Hate

Chase Jones, Department of Homeland Security

Harleen  Kaur, Sikh Coalition

Wrap Up and Networking 3:45 – 4:00 pm

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Hate continues to be a problem in our state. On August 20th, as motorists from around the region drove north on Interstate 5 to view the solar eclipse, many were greeted by banners hung by neo-Nazis from bridges in the Eugene-Albany area. Our rapid response team (i. e., Jeff Gottfried) delivered nearly 200 yard signs to churches, temples, and synagogues in the area, letting neighbors know that hate has no place in Lane County.

As we try to make sense of the events in Charlottesville (Read Randy Blazak response to the situation here: Charlottesville: America’s fork in the road), and our president’s mixed messages about racism, we redouble our efforts around this issue. We are working on a plan to better distribute the “HATE NOT IN OUR TOWN” signs to communities across the state. We are also partnering with the Portland Urban League to build towards a 2018 event to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads in Southeast Portland. We encourage you to be a part of our efforts.

The good that is being done because of the evil — July 14, 2017

The good that is being done because of the evil

July 14, 2017

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all the positive things that are being done in our community because of the horrific May 26 Max Train attack, It is important for the survivors and the families of Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche to know that because of their, and Micah Fletcher’s, actions, so many positive things are being done to make our community less hateful. August 12, 2017 will be the 30th anniversary of the beating death of Mulugeta Seraw. We at the CAHC are committed to using these two tragic bookends as a time period to build as strong healthy community in Portland, one resistant to the pull of hate.

Here is a partial list of events sparked by the attack on May 26th. More information about our forum on August 12 is coming.

June 2 – Oregon congressional delegation introduces a joint resolution to honor the Max heroes

June 7 – City of Portland awards 8 community groups a $40,000 grant to improve the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents.

June 25  –  Bystander Intervention Workshop at Living Room Realty 

June 26 –  Hearts Against Hate handed out at the Hollywood Max station

July 19 – Preventing Communal Violence forum in Salem’s Temple Beth Shalom.

July 5 – Portland offers $350,000 for grants to combat city’s rising hate crimes and improve reporting.

July 13 –  Personal Safety and De-Escalation training (YMCA) at Brentwood Darlington Community Center

July 24  – Zero Tolerance! Oregonians Standing Together Against Hate Forum at MET

July 26 –  Interrupting Hate in Public Spaces (YMCA) at Taborspace 

July 31 –  Bystander Intervention Workshop by SWAG and UNLOC Pdx

Aug 12 – CAHC/DOJ Hate Crime Forum at the Oregon Jewish Museum

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Visit our partners at Portland United Against Hate

 

Responding to Hate in Portland — June 19, 2017

Responding to Hate in Portland

June 19, 2017

In the wake of the brutal May 26th attack on the Portland Max train that left two good samaritans dead and a third seriously injured, the city has been responding in a number of ways. The worldwide media attention on the incident has put Portland in a spotlight it hasn’t occupied since the 1988 murder of an Ethiopian immigrant by racist skinheads. As the chair of the Coalition, I have tried to fairly represent the CAHC’s mission, as well as our city, its history, and the work that must be done, in the New York Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC,  Al Jazeera, and several other media outlets.

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Since the attack, the city has held vigils, memorial services, anti-hate rallies, community meetings with law enforcement, benefit shows and fundraisers for the victims, and on June 7, the Portland City Council approved a $40,000 grant to help improve the reporting of hate crimes in the city. On June 9, Oregon Senators and Congress members submitted a joint resolution condemning the attacks. There will a bystander intervention workshop on June 25. And the Oregon Attorney General’s Office will be hosting a hate crime forum on July 24 at the Muslim Educational Trust in Tigard.

The CAHC is working with our partners at the DOJ CRS to assemble a community forum in late July that will cover the legal issues regarding hate crimes, the experience of communities that have been targeted, and useful strategies from preventing hate crimes and responding when hate does arise. We will have more information, soon. The DOJ CRS is also helping to support our Hate Free State proclamation that is currently in Governor Brown’s office.

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All this work and more is being done to honor Ricky Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher, as well as the two girls who were verbally assaulted that day. Their families should know that waves of goodness, reflection, activism, and community commitment will continue to unfold from that horrific day. We have all been forced to rededicate ourselves to this issue because of their sacrifice. Sadly, there have been several hate incidents in Oregon since that attack, and we have been tasked with the realization that hate is still a regular part of our world, even in Portland. However, the ripple of those people’s actions on that train will bring positive change for many years to come.

White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train. — May 27, 2017

White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train.

May 27,  2017

On May 26, 2017 there was a brutal attack on the Portland Max, near the Hollywood station by a known white supremacist. We encourage people to stand up to hate speech, but in this case it turned fatal. Jeremy Christian was verbally assaulting two women on the train he believed to be Muslim. Three people who tried to get him to stop were stabbed by Christian. Ricky John Best, 53, died at the scene and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died later in the hospital.. Christian is in custody.

Here is one of the media accounts of the incident.

Police: 2 killed in MAX train stabbing after suspect bullies Muslim women

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(Photo by Katherine Cook)

The women who were the initial targets of the attack fled the train and the Portland Police are hoping to interview them. Chief Marshman made this plea.

Community colleagues,

By now I am sure you are aware of the incident on the MAX train where two people were killed. Portland Police has the suspect in custody. 

We are continuing to investigate this terrible crime and will get information to the public as soon as we are able to do so. 

Preliminary information is that the suspect was yelling various types of hate speech to many passengers on the train. 

We are looking for two young women, possibly teenagers, who were on the train. We believe these two young women are witnesses to this crime. One was possibly wearing a hijab. 

With Ramadan beginning this evening, please know that the Portland Police Bureau stands by your side and will have extra police patrols for you. 

Thank you,
Mike Marshman, Chief of Police

Both Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler have condemned the incident. There is a vigil planned for tonight at the Hollywood Max Center at 6:30.

 

We know that attacks on Muslims have increased, and have spiked since the bombing in Manchester, England. It is important for us to stand with the victims and against this type of terrorism in our communities. All people should feel safe, no matter what their faith is.

2017 tally of Oregon bias incidents (So far) — March 15, 2017

2017 tally of Oregon bias incidents (So far)

(Above photo by Joe Glode/Street Roots.)

I will be testifying before the Oregon Senate tomorrow morning on Senate Bill 356. That’s Sen. Lew Frederick’s bill to improve the language of Oregon’s hate crime law. In preparation for my testimony, I compiled the 2017 hate incidents that we have chronicled on the CAHC Facebook page.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the ten days following the election of Donald Trump, Oregon had 33 hate incidents reported, ranking the state 9th in the nation. A 2017 report from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism-California State University, San Bernardino  found that hate crimes Increased 22% in major metro areas in 2016. This is why it is important for Oregon to update its bias crime law.

Here is the list of 2017 incidents through March 14, 2017. Many more when unreported. These are just the incidents that were reported in the media, including social media.

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1/24 – Ashland. Neo-Nazi flyers plastered around Ashland.

1/25 – Ashland. Black truck with a swastika placard reading, ‘The greatest story never told’ photographed driving around Ashland.

1/26 – Ashland. Police arrest a Medford man who was posting pro-Nazi flyers.

1/29 – Portland. Five males enter the Mount Covenant Church and disrupt services, espousing hate for immigrants and refugees.

1/30 – Portland. A Latino man was assaulted by a skinhead outside Zupans He also made racist and homophobic comments during the attack.

2/1 – Portland. A man physically accosts workers and customers at Crema Coffee, screaming about “N lovers” and “faggots.”

2/4 – Eugene. Racially-charged messages, including swastikas, were left on 2 Eugene businesses over the weekend.

2/6 – Portland. A brick is thrown through window of the Black Lives Matter display at a feminist book store.

2/7 – Eugene. Nazi skinheads sporting swastikas seen driving a van with a placard reading, “Trump: Do the white thing.”

2/7 – Portland. A 35-year-old Hispanic man who works at a SE Portland funeral home was assaulted at his workplace was assaulted by an unknown white man who began yelling anti-immigrant slurs and hit him several times with some kind of object, possibly a belt.

2/14 – West Linn. Valentines with Hitler’s picture were found at Athey Creek Middle School with the phrase, “Be mein.”

2/18 – Ashland – A metal rail box was spray-painted with the words, “Anne Frank oven.”

2/19 – Portland. A man storms the pulpit at the United Church of Christ and begins yelling anti-homosexual epithets at the pastor, who is gay.

2/23 – Hillsboro. Swastikas are painted in Liberty High School for the second time in two weeks.

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3/2 – Lake Oswego. Racist graffiti written on walls in Lake Oswego High School.

3/4 – Salem. Officers arrested Jason Kendall, 52, for allegedly attacking a man working at a Middle Eastern restaurant with a pipe and telling his victim to “Go back to your country, terrorist,”

3/6 – Portland. The Mittleman Jewish Community Center (MJCC) evacuated its campus on Monday in SW Portland after receiving an e-mail threat. Numerous other Jewish centers are threatened on the same day.

3/7 – Portland. Anti-gay graffiti found in gender-neutral bathroom at Grant High School.

3/12 – Portland. Numerous swastikas painted on cars, trees, and pavement in Portland along SE 33rd Ave.

Showing Up for Love on Valentine’s: Portland United Against Hate — February 13, 2017

Showing Up for Love on Valentine’s: Portland United Against Hate

Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/72583

Portland United Against Hate

Vigil and joint announcement about creation of coalition

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

5:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Da Vinci Middle School

2508 NE Everett St.

Portland United Against Hate is a community initiated partnership of Community Based Organizations, Neighborhood Associations, concerned communities and the City. Together, we are building a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and providing the support and protection our communities need in this uncertain era. We seek to combine our resources, assets and relationships to create an inclusive city that protects, embraces, and celebrates its diverse communities.

We hear the outcry of our communities. In recent months, many community organizations report increasing incidents of hate crimes and intimidation, including bullying and violence stemming from racism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, islamophobia, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, stigma, and misogyny. This affects every area of our lives, including our workplaces, schools, places of worship, healthcare facilities, the marketplace, and more. We reject this hateful behavior.

We are tackling this toxic environment head on. Our partnership is bound by these common values: we oppose a registry of people based on their faith, culture, ethnicity, and documentation status. We know Black Lives Matter. We will continue advocating reform of our police department and building trust between police and communities of color so everybody feels safe in our neighborhoods. We support Portland’s evolution as an Inclusive City, regardless of the threats made by the Trump administration.

We have come together. This community initiated partnership is combining forces with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), whose charge is to connect and support all Portlanders to work collaboratively with government to build inclusive, safe, and livable neighborhoods and communities.  Community organizations look to ONI to collaborate in creating a robust response to the negative forces that undermine our city and community.

Our bold and intentional collaborative efforts are designed to protect communities from hate and proactively, create a strong base of support, provide the tools and resources to combat oppression, prosper economically and thrive collectively.

Everyone and every community deserves a safe, prosperous, and peaceful life, a life free from hate and harassment. We recognize and honor our collective resilience and our right to nurture our communities from a place of compassion, security, and belonging.

“With divisiveness and hatred becoming the norm at the national level, and here on the Best Coast, we must find ways to support our neighbors.  I sincerely appreciate this statement of community values, being generated by the people, for the people.  We believe in dignity and respect for all.  That is the Portland way.” Commissioner Amanda Fritz

We invite you to join us. Need help? Please reach out to the organizations below. Someone there will listen to what happened, and help you find a solution. Want to be involved? YOU can volunteer, lend your financial support, get trained on how to combat hate, and come together for community events. YOU can speak up when you hear or see hateful, harassing or intimidating acts. YOU can be part of creating a truly welcoming community. Together, we can all unite against hate.

Here’s the Facebook Event.

Oregon Senators sign letter critical of Trump’s removal of racists from extremist list — February 11, 2017

Oregon Senators sign letter critical of Trump’s removal of racists from extremist list

Democratic Senators Criticize Reported White House Plan to Refocus Counter-Terror Program, Ignore Threats from White Supremacists and Other Extremist Groups

Reports indicate that Trump administration is seeking to refocus Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts solely on “Islamic Extremism,” ignoring broader violent extremist threats.
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Source: http://www.booker.senate.gov

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), along with 10 other Democratic Senators, are criticizing a reported Trump administration plan to restructure U.S. government efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE) to instead focus solely on “Islamic Extremism” or “Radical Islamic Extremism,” and no longer target violent white supremacist and other extremist groups that have threatened or carried out attacks in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security currently defines CVE as efforts that aim “to address the root causes of violent extremism by providing resources to communities to build and sustain local prevention efforts and promote the use of counter-narratives to confront violent extremist messaging online.”

Joining Sens. Booker and Schatz on a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and USAID acting Administrator Wade Warren expressing concerns with the reported White House plan are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bob Casey (D-PA). 

The Senators write, “Singling out a specific religion as the focus of CVE efforts rather than violent extremism more broadly— while ignoring threats from white supremacist groups— would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country.”

The letter continues, “Supporting countering violent extremism programs that take an evidence-based view of what violent extremism really is and how to tackle it increases the U.S. government’s standing as a moral leader, advances American foreign policy objectives, and protects our homeland. We will not allow these U.S. government’s efforts to be tarnished by any move that would overtly single out a specific religious, ethnic, or other identity due to bias instead of evidence.”

The full text of the letter follows:

February 9, 2017

The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

 The Honorable John Kelly
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20528

 The Honorable James Mattis
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

 The Honorable Wade Warren
Acting Administrator
U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20523

Dear Secretaries Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis and Acting Administrator Warren:

We write with deep concerns about reports that the Trump administration plans to restructure U.S. government efforts to counter violent extremism (CVE) to instead focus solely on “Islamic Extremism” or “Radical Islamic Extremism,” no longer targeting violent white supremacist and other extremist groups. As we have witnessed most recently and tragically with the mass shooting of worshippers at a mosque in Quebec this past month, violent extremism is not confined to any single ethnic, religious, or other identity group, but is instead a political and social phenomenon afflicting diverse nations and peoples across the globe. In the United States, the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was perpetrated not by “Islamic extremists” but by an anti-government extremist from New York. Singling out a specific religion as the focus of CVE efforts rather than violent extremism more broadly— while ignoring threats from white supremacist groups— would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country.

Bipartisan national security leaders along with numerous former U.S. officials and practitioners recognize the value that CVE programs bring to the fight against extremists and we are eager to continue this critical work. Countering violent extremism programs have proven to decrease the number of communities engaging in extremism. By preventing people from heading down the path to radicalization and recruitment, we can help to stem the spread of extremist ideologies and prevent new individuals from resorting to violent means—thereby reducing the need for the U.S. military to solve violent extremism through use of force alone, an impossible and misguided task.

As national security leaders tasked to protect our country and expand our alliances and partnerships around the world, we know you are aware of the considerable efforts we and our partners across the world have engaged in to prevent violence and the spread of violent ideologies. From the United Arab Emirates’ Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, to our own Life After Hate, a group of former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement countering neo-Nazi propaganda, these governments have taken important steps to address radicalization. Refocusing our violent extremism program to focus exclusively on Islamic extremism will, without any doubt, alienate Muslim organizations and individuals in the United States, as well as the governments who have been our closest partners abroad. It will also put U.S. service members, diplomats, development practitioners, and citizens traveling the world at significant risk, and will increase the likelihood of more attacks. We have already seen the effects of this proposed change as Reuters reported that one Michigan-based group led by Lebanese-Americans has already declined a $500,000 CVE grant from the Department of Homeland Security and numerous overseas development partners have expressed that they will no longer work with the United States in the event of such a redefinition. 

In addition to isolating our closest allies in the fight against extremism, both at home and abroad, the administration’s plan to exclusively target Islam raises serious questions over whether such a policy would violate constitutional protections and the rights of American citizens. Specifically, we are concerned that this course of action risks violating both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, crucial safeguards on the rights of vulnerable citizens.

Supporting countering violent extremism programs that take an evidence-based view of what violent extremism really is and how to tackle it increases the U.S. government’s standing as a moral leader, advances American foreign policy objectives, and protects our homeland. We will not allow these U.S. government’s efforts to be tarnished by any move that would overtly single out a specific religious, ethnic, or other identity due to bias instead of evidence.

Sincerely,

 

_______________________________                                      _______________________________

Cory A. Booker                                                          Brian Schatz

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

_______________________________                                      _______________________________

Richard Blumenthal                                                  Jeffrey A. Merkley

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Ron Wyden                                                                Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Tom Carper                                                               Chris Van Hollen

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________

Patty Murray                                                             Maria Cantwell

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

 _______________________________                                      _______________________________ 

Sheldon Whitehouse                                                Robert P. Casey Jr.

United States Senator                                               United States Senator

Rally and March Against Hate, Feb. 12 — February 10, 2017
CAHC Meeting, Feb. 2 at 2 pm — January 27, 2017

CAHC Meeting, Feb. 2 at 2 pm

January 27, 2017

The January 5th meeting was well attended. Participation from community groups as well as Portland Police, the FBI and the DOJ really got the ball rolling. Our next Coalition Against Hate Crime meeting is:

Thursday, February 2nd at 2 pm

PCC – Cascade Campus
Student Union Building
Room 204 – Cascade Room
(For directions: CLICK HERE)
Among other items, we will be discussing the proposal to declare Oregon a “Hate-Free Zone,” a hate crime reporting app, and events in Ashland.