A conference that examined the rise in white supremacy, racism and anti-Semitism had religious leaders and law enforcement talking about ways to keep places of worship safe.
Yael Hershfield, the deputy regional director of Anti-Defamation League spoke about how the agency worked with law enforcement to disrupt white supremacy and other forms of hate.
Hershfield said hatred impacted all groups, leaving nobody out and how forms of hatred were on the rise since 2016, against Jews, Hispanics, Blacks, Muslims and other minorities.
The ADL’s website, she said, had interactive programs where people could see the increases.
“All the information for extremism is on the web,” said Hershfield. “We have recorded instances of extremist activity that are all on this map online. If you click on it, you can focus on Florida and on Broward County. You can report it to law enforcement and then report it to us.”
Hershfield noted that everyone could be a victim of a hate crime, and that it didn’t matter whether someone targeted a Mosque, a church, or a synagogue.
In March and early April, three historically Black churches were burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, the New York Times reported.
Many people also use social media to express their hatred toward other people, and she encourages people to keep a watch on anything and everything. A simple expression of hated, she said, could escalate and when in doubt she said contact law enforcement or contact the ADL if you aren’t sure whether what you saw merit a phone call.
Parkland confessed shooter Nicolas Cruz used social media to hurl insults at Blacks and Muslims.
“We are all targeted,” said Hershfield, “for who we are, and how we pray, and how we look. We need to protect ourselves. Every sign of hate needs to be monitored. If you don’t know what to do with the level of hatred, call us. Always call law enforcement. They will tell you what you can cannot do. If you still have questions, call the ADL.”
The 2019 Broward Sheriff’s Security Conference, held in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, was held at the office of the Urban League of Broward County, on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, and other officers, were present at the conference.
“We have people today who will come up and talk about how we need to address every single mass casualty, and remember what happened at the Pulse Night Club, the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and other places,” he said. “Every single one of us must bear witness to what happened there."
Tony was appointed after former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was removed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January. DeSantis alleged Scott botched the way his deputies handled two mass shootings in Broward County, including the Parkland shootings, which left 17 dead and as many injured.
But on Sept. 25, Senate Special Master J. Dudley Goodlette released a nonbinding report recommending reinstatement of Israel to his post, saying, “the Governor has not proven the specific charges of suspension.”
Israel, among shaded trees at Robbins Park in Davie, the same day, cheered Goodlette’s report.
Israel’s attorney expects his client to be reinstated by the Senate.