Mayor de Blasio Calls for New York to Be an Example at Anti-Hate Rally in NY

What to Know

  • Hate crimes have risen across the city and tri-state in recent weeks, many of them targeting Jewish and Muslim people
  • The NYPD said that hate crimes have spiked 31 percent this year compared to last year and that it is investigating dozens of such crimes
  • On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered at a Brooklyn Heights park to denounce swastikas that were painted there

Mayor de Blasio called for New York to be "an example" for the rest of the nation at an anti-hate rally in Manhattan on Monday.

The 11 a.m. rally at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in the East Village was called as the NYPD reported the number of hate crimes in the city was on the rise.

"We've seen a nation which is meant to be inclusionary becoming exclusionary," he said.

"We have a special obligation to be an example," he said. "A single office-holder doesn't change who we are."

De Blasio's message aimed to unify the city and calm fears following a number of hate-inspired incidents across the boroughs and tri-state.

He directly referred to the fears of many Americans stemming from the election of Donald Trump.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat the situation,” he said.

“It’s important to say out loud - there’s a lot of fear out there. People are desperately worried about what this will mean for them and their families.”

He spoke directly to black residents, women, Muslims, members of the Jewish community and the LGBT community when he said "we will protect you".

De Blasio declared that the city would not comply if asked to resume "stop and frisk" policies, and it would ensure funding to women's healthcare despite threats to the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

He also said those committing hate crimes would be found, arrested and prosecuted.

NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill said that hate crimes are up 31 percent this year from last year, a trend he called “disturbing.”

Police have been investigating more than two dozen hate crimes. Many of those crimes were against Jewish and Muslim people. 

On Sunday, hundreds of New Yorkers came together to protest hate messages and offensive symbols at a Brooklyn Heights park that is named after a late Beastie Boys star. The playground was defaced with two swastikas and a pro-Trump message last week.

Gov. Cuomo said Sunday that he has directed state police to create a special unit to investigate reports of hate crimes in New York.

Cuomo, a Democrat, announced the initiative at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Manhattan as part of a plan to combat hate crimes in the aftermath of the divisive presidential election.

“I wish I could say that our beautiful State of New York was immune from this poison. But it's not. Fliers promoting the KKK were found on parked cars in Patchogue, Long Island. A swastika was discovered on the B train in Manhattan," Cuomo said. 

“It seeks a target and the target has become people that one sees as different from oneself. It’s the different people – different skin color, different religion, different sexuality. And they have become a target for this anger,” Cuomo said.

The governor told the Harlem church's congregation that he'll also push for legislation that expands protections under the state's human rights law to all students statewide. The other aspect of the three-part plan will create the nation's first emergency legal defense fund to ensure all immigrants have access to representation.

Cuomo's plan is a response to what he called the "ugly political discourse" that didn't end with Republican Donald Trump's win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in last week's election.

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced a hotline for reporting bias and discrimination amid an apparent uptick in reports of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, racially based bullying in schools and hate crimes in the Empire State following the election.

Swastikas, "No Jews" and other anti-Semitic and racist messages have been spray-painted on streets, buildings and sidewalks across the tri-state in recent days, authorities said.

Last week a man punched another man in the face following an argument over religion on a subway in Manhattan.

And the MTA says it is looking into a report of a swastika apparently scrawled in black marker on a New York City subway, an incident Cuomo mentioned in his address in Harlem. 

In a video message Friday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to a spike in hate crimes that the federal government found in 2015, saying the increase should be "deeply sobering" to Americans.

The FBI reported a six-percent increase in hate crimes nationally in 2015, with anti-Muslim crimes increasing by a staggering 67 percent, Lynch said on the video.

"These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans," Lynch said.

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