Trump Pittsburgh visit: 11 Jewish leaders push back against president after synagogue shooting

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A group of Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh demanded Trump denounce white nationalism and stop targeting minorities before he visits.

More than 35,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump from the leaders of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group who say the president will not be welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities after a mass shooting Saturday at a local synagogue left 11 dead.

Nevertheless, the White House announced Trump would travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, ignoring the letter as well as a plea from Pittsburgh’s mayor that the president at least refrain from visiting “while we are burying the dead.” The first of the funerals for the 11 shooting victims is expected to take place Tuesday.

The open letter, which was published and shared on Sunday, was written by 11 members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc, a national organization for progressive Jews focused on social justice, following what is being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. The shooting at Tree of Life synagogue also left several people injured, including law enforcement.

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What We Know, and Don’t Know, About Hate Crimes in America

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“Go home. We need Americans here!” white supremacist Jeremy Joseph Christian yelled at two black women — one wearing a hijab — on a train in Portland, Oregon, in May. According to news reports, when several commuters tried to intervene, he went on a rampage, stabbing three people. Two of them died.

If the fatal stabbing was the worst racist attack in Portland this year, it was by no means the only one. In March, Buzzfeed reported on hate incidents in Oregon and the state’s long history as a haven for white supremacists. Some of the incidents they found were gathered by Documenting Hate, a collaborative journalism project we launched earlier this year.

Documenting Hate is an attempt to overcome the inadequate data collection on hate crimes and bias incidents in America. We’ve been compiling incident reports from civil-rights groups, as well as news reports, social media and law enforcement records. We’ve also asked people to tell us their personal stories of witnessing or being the victim of hate.

It’s been about six months since the project launched. Since then, we’ve been joined by more than 100 newsrooms around the country. Together, we’re verifying the incidents that have been reported to us — and telling people’s stories.

We’ve received thousands of reports, with more coming every day. They come from cities big and small, and from states blue and red. People have reported hate incidents from every part of their communities: in schools, on the road, at private businesses, in the workplace. ProPublica and our partners have produced more than 50 stories using the tips from the database, from New York to Seattle, Minneapolis to Phoenix. Some examples:

Univision, HuffPost, and The New York Times opinion section identified a common thread in the reports we’ve received in which people of color are harassed “Go back to your country.” This type of harassment affects both immigrants and U.S. citizens alike, reporters found.

Several stories published by our partners focused on racial harassment on public transportation, using tips to illustrate something officials were also seeing. The New York City Commission on Human Rights observed a 480 percent increase in claims of discriminatory harassment between 2015 and 2016, according to The New York Times Opinion section. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recorded 24 cases of offensive graffiti through April, compared to 35 in all of last year, the Boston Globe found. Univision covered multiple incidents involving Latinos targeted in incidents on the New York City subway.

Combing through our database, Buzzfeed discovered there were dozens of reported incidents in K-12 schools in which students cited President Donald Trump’s name or slogans to harass minority classmates. This echoed a pattern Univision had reported on: In November, the Teaching Tolerance project at the Southern Poverty Law Center received more than 10,000 responses to an educator survey indicating an uptick in anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activity in schools.

Our local partners reported on how hate incidents affect communities across the country: anti-Semitic graffiti in Phoenix, Islamophobia in Minneapolis, racist vandalism and homophobic threats in Seattle, white supremacist activity at a California university, racist harassment and vandalism in Boston, racism in the workplace in New Orleans, and hate incidents throughout Florida.

There are a few questions for which answers continue to elude us: How many hate crimes happen each year, and why is the record keeping so inadequate?

The FBI, which is required to track hate crimes, counts between 5,000 and 6,000 of them annually. But the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates the total is closer to 250,000. One explanation for the gap is that many victims — more than half, according to a recent estimate — don’t report what happened to them to police.

Even if they do, law enforcement agencies aren’t all required to report to the FBI, meaning their reports might never make it into the national tally. The federal government is hardly a model of best practices; many federal agencies don’t report their data, either — even though they’re legally required to do so.

We’ll spend the next six months continuing to tackle these questions and more. And we and our partners will keep working our way through the tips in our database, telling people’s stories and doing our best to understand what’s happening.

By Rachel Glickhouse/Truthdig

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Fatal Stabbing of Black Student at University of Maryland Investigated as Possible Hate Crime

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The FBI is helping to evaluate whether the fatal stabbing by a white student of a black student visiting the University of Maryland will be prosecuted as a hate crime, university police said Sunday.

Richard Wilbur Collins III was with two friends on the university’s campus in College Park when he was approached by a man and stabbed in the chest with a knife Saturday morning, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told reporters.

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Image: twitter

The 23-year-old had been commissioned as a lieutenant in the US Army two days before his death and had been set to graduate from Bowie State University (BSU) on Tuesday in a ceremony at Maryland, Mitchell said.

The University of Maryland student suspected of Collins’s killing was a member of a Facebook group named Alt Reich, Mitchell said.

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More than 300 Hate Crimes Reported After First Week of Election: ‘Truly a Frightening Number’

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It’s only been one week since Republican Donald Trump emerged victorious in the race for the White House, but already several reports of hate crimes against Blacks and other minorities across the country have come pouring in.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that monitors hate groups in the U.S., over 300 acts of “hateful harassment and intimidation” have been reported since Trump’s Election-Day win. This is usually the amount they see over a five- or six-month period.

“Since Donald Trump won the election, we’ve seen an alarming number of hate-based incidents occur throughout the nation, some of which are no doubt stemming from Trump’s hate-filled campaign,” the SPLC told ThinkProgress in a statement. “We’ve collected more than 315 such incidents since the election — truly a frightening number.”

The organization said the incidents ranged from anti-woman to anti-LGBT harassment, but a large majority of the reported attacks were anti-Black and anti-immigrant. Reported acts of violence and intimidation against Muslims came in a close third, according to SPLC data.

According to ThinkProgress, experts say the period following this year’s intense presidential election might see the worst surge in hate crimes and violence since the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.

“We already had been worse based on the fact that Donald Trump had mainstreamed Islamophobia … and this was just taking it off the charts,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”

Another troubling trend observed by the SPLC is that a large number of these hateful acts are occurring in elementary, middle and high schools across the country. The stunning results of the presidential election have seemingly exacerbated racial tensions among K-12 students.

For instance, someone scrawled the words “KILL KILL KILL BLACKS” on the bathroom wall of an elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland. The hate-filled message, found early Friday morning, was immediately removed by maintenance personnel, a Montgomery Public Schools official told WUSA 9 news.

More racist graffiti touting messages like “F-ck n-ggers” and “#GoBackToAfrica” was also found in the bathrooms of Maple Grove Senior High in Minnesota, Atlanta Black Star reported.

But the deplorable acts of racism and intimidation haven’t stopped there.

On Sunday, a Black woman in Des Moines, Iowa, came home to find the words “white power” written in permanent ink on the front door of her apartment. Police are still searching for a suspect(s), USA Today reports.

“It’s hurtful and disrespectful,” 20-year-old Kirsten Grant told the Des Moines Register. “I pay my rent the same as everybody else. Why do I have to have ‘white power’ on my door? … I’m no different than anybody else.”

Near Anaheim, California, a bystander reported a hate crime to the SPLC in which, “white males in a black Ford truck were calling a black family in the vehicle next to them n***ers and yelling that it was Trump’s country now. The truck sped off before I could get license info,” the bystander said.

Then, at Southern Illinois University, students decided to celebrate Trump’s stunning victory by posing in Black face on social media app Snaphat.

These are just a few of the many instances of bigotry and hate reportedly fueled by president-elect Trump AFTER he was elected president of the United States. There were also a series of hate crimes committed against minorities leading up to the unprecedented election win.

The SPLC reports that many reported incidents, though not all, involved direct references to the Trump campaign. In an on-air interview with “60 Minutes” over the weekend, the president-elect urged his supporters to “stop it” — stop committing acts of violence and intimidation in his name.

But many argue that Trump’s request comes a little too late. The damage has already been done.

By  Tanasia Kenney/ABS
Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

Donors Raise Over $200,000 For Historic Black Church Defaced By Vandals

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A GoFundMe account set up to help restore a historically Black Mississippi church defaced by vandals has raised over $200,000.

On Tuesday Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church congregants in Greenville, Mississippi found their sanctuary set ablaze with the words “Vote Trump,” spray painted on one of the church walls, ABC News reports.

According to the outlet, no one was harmed in the fire, but the blaze left behind charred pews and inside structure damage.

At a Wednesday news conference, Hopewell’s pastor, Carolyn Hudson, said parishioners were “heartbroken,” but was faithful that “God would allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place.”

Blair Reeves, a New York Native who organized the GoFundMe campaign, told ABC he felt “compelled” to act and was overwhelmed at the response.

“The animus of this election cycle combined with the potent racial history of burning black churches as a political symbol makes this event something we must not ignore,” Reeves wrote in the campaign’s description. “Only two weeks ago, the internet came together to help repair a North Carolina GOP field office that had been burned by thugs. Justice demands we do the same now.”

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FBI investigating arson, ‘Vote Trump’ tag at black church

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The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into the arson and vandalism of an African-American church in Mississippi, where someone spray-painted “Vote Trump” in what the mayor called a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

Image: AP

The pulpit and pews were burned, and soot stained the brick around some windows. Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. said the fire was set by someone and estimated the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was 80 percent destroyed.

“We consider it a hate crime,” Mayor Errick Simmons said. “Because of the political message which we believe was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters.”

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Police Release Image Of Suspect In Charleston Church Shooting

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Image: City of Charleston Twitter

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