United Against Hate: Ethnic Media Services and Community Leaders Strategize Against Hate.

By: Fatmeh Bakhit | Alenteshar Newspaper
December 19th, 2023

In a concerted effort to tackle the rising tide of hate crimes, San Diego’s civic leaders have joined forces with Ethnic Media Services, forging a path towards greater inclusivity and safety for the region’s diverse populace. This initiative represents a critical acknowledgment of the need to safeguard the myriad communities that enrich San Diego.

A Unified Coalition Against Hate

On the frosty morning of December 14, a mosaic of community voices gathered, bringing together leaders from myriad community-based organizations (CBOs) and local ethnic media outlets. This assembly, orchestrated by Ethnic Media Services (EMS) and Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties, convened in the welcoming confines of the Asian Business Association San Diego office. More than 40 dedicated participants, each a recipient of California’s Stop the Hate initiative grants, joined in this pivotal crusade against hate.

The data from the US Justice Department underscores a grim reality: San Diego County witnessed 105 hate crimes involving 125 victims in 2022, with an additional 4 in Imperial County. Predominantly targeted were Black Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Yet, these figures likely represent just the tip of the iceberg, as law enforcement and District Attorneys’ offices grapple with the daunting task of prosecuting hate crimes, given the stringent burden of proof required.

Islamophobia and Its Impact on the Muslim Community

Alenteshar Newspaper, a voice for the marginalized, actively participated in the meeting, spotlighting the alarming rise in Islamophobia. They highlighted a distressing trend: Muslim women, particularly those wearing the hijab, are increasingly choosing to remove and forgo this emblem of their faith, fearing for their safety. This trend reflects a harrowing reality where identity concealment becomes a means of protection in the face of burgeoning hate.

Reporting Barriers in Diverse Communities

Communities of color often stand at a crossroads, torn between the need to report hate crimes and the fear of unintended repercussions, such as deportation or undue police attention. An incident involving an Uber driver, who refrained from reporting a hate crime against him due to apprehension of potential police bias, poignantly illustrated this dilemma.

Integration Challenges for Immigrants

The discussions also illuminated the complex maze immigrants navigate to assimilate into American society. Obstacles like language barriers, housing insecurities, and limited access to resources loom large. The Middle East North African community, lacking distinct recognition in Census records, faces an uphill battle in advocating for resources and representation.

Focus on Youth and Combating School Bullying

With an acute awareness that school bullying forms a significant slice of hate-driven offenses, numerous grantees are zeroing in on this sector. Their strategy? Engage the youth, the pivotal bridge generation, in the crusade against hate.

Sandy Close, EMS’s Executive Director, capped the meeting with a stirring call to action. She stressed the imperative for inclusive, cross-ethnic, and inter-ethnic dialogues between ethnic media and non-profit community groups. Her vision was resolute: no hate crime should slip through the cracks unreported, no victim should languish in obscurity, and every community must possess a platform to raise and resonate their voices.

A Beacon of Hope

San Diego’s initiative shines as a beacon of hope and a template for other regions wrestling with similar issues. By cultivating a collaborative space where diverse narratives are not just heard but embraced, San Diego boldly strides towards a future free from hate, marked by inclusivity and mutual respect.

This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

Al Enteshar Newspaper

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