ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - A recent spike in hate crimes across New York State, including numerous incidents here in Rochester, is getting the attention of local leaders.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other local community leaders came together in Rochester on Tuesday, to speak out against these incidents.
"We know as a nation, that these acts do not represent us,” said Senator Gillibrand. They do not represent the ideals of America."
In an emotional plea at City Hall, Gillibrand strongly urged the people of Rochester to come together to fight the continuation of hate crimes.
"When we see these hateful crimes, to say this doesn't represent us or our values,” she said. “We are not a community that is racist or bigoted. We believe in helping our neighbors and the least among us."
Recently, in the North Winton area of Rochester, LGBTQ pride flags were burned. Racist fliers were distributed in Pittsford neighborhoods, and just last week, anti-Semitic graffiti was found at SUNY Geneseo.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says the power of unity is key during these circumstances.
"The communities are coming together and saying, ‘This is unacceptable and we will not tolerate this in our community,’" she said.
Mayor Warren's message is if you see something, say something. The best way to reduce these hate crimes is to simply report it.
"We are a community that stands up against hate,” said Mayor Warren. “And if someone is harassing you or bullying you, you want to report that to the authorities."
And that's why other local leaders say these gatherings are necessary.
"What an honor – and unfortunate it is that we spend our resources on this – to be here to speak out against everything we've seen in the last few weeks," said Sareer Fazili, president of the Islamic Center of Rochester.
The hope is that the message of unity will resonate with individuals not only in Rochester, but across the state.
Recently, there have been measures to combat the spike in hate crimes, with a discrimination hotline being set up by Governor Cuomo’s administration. The number to that hotline is (888) 392-3644.
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