The Lead

Philly Human Relations Commission hosts anti-hate panel

By: - January 10, 2023 11:02 am

By Philadelphia Tribune Staff

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations recently hosted the People United to Stop Hate (PUSH) Symposium, bringing federal, state, and city leaders, community leaders and experts in civil rights and public safety together in a discussion about combating hate across Pennsylvania.

“Hate has no place in our city or anywhere across our state and nation, yet it poses a real threat that disproportionately impacts people of color, the Jewish community, and members of our LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender women of color,” said Kia Ghee, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

“By working together across lines of racial, religious, gender identity, and other diversities, we can prevent acts of hate-fueled violence and foster a sense of unity. PCHR is committed to doing everything in its power to combat hate and build a tolerant city where everyone feels they belong.”

The Jan. 6 panel took place at the Free Library of Philadelphia. It featured presentations and panels on topics related to hate and bias, including:

  • Federal protections against hate and domestic extremism.
  • Hate trends: anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT+ hate.
  • Addressing hate in the state.
  • Risk and protective factors for hate in Philadelphia.
  • Report hate PSA: a community-police collaboration to combat AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) hate.
  • Black + Gold Leadership Bootcamp: building Black and Asian relations through dialogue and dinner.

“In order to combat hate, we must continue to share collaborative strategies that build positive relationships in our communities, exercise the power of collective voice, and promote solidarity rather than division,” said Romana Lee-Akiyama, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. “We are proud and grateful to work alongside our committed colleagues at PCHR, with community leaders, and individuals across every level of government to share useful data and resources on combating hate in our city and state.”

To report hate crimes or bias incidents, contact PCHR by email at [email protected] or through its anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.

Somaly Osteen, program director of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, said bringing groups together is crucial to success.

“Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia is looking forward to continuing the collaboration with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to fight against hate crime in our communities, city, and the Commonwealth,” Osteen said. “This symposium highlighted the need and calls for all agencies and communities to work together to combat this critical issue.”

Corbett Anderson, chief deputy attorney general at the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, said efforts to fight hate must go outside of government intervention.

“Hate and bias tear at the fabric of our communities, our commonwealth, and indeed our nation. This program underscored how all of us — whether within or outside government — have a role in combating hate crime,” he said.

In 2021, hate crimes rose to 347 from 112 incidents in 2020, a 210% increase statewide. Last year, in Philadelphia, there were 111 reported hate crimes compared to 88 in 2021, an overall 27% increase and a 49% increase in confirmed incidents of hate and bias. However, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that nearly two-thirds of hate crimes are never reported.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is the city’s official civil rights agency that enforces laws that prevent discrimination and promote equality. It also facilitates community discussions and mediation, and partners with law enforcement agencies, victim services, and other community providers to ensure that victims of hate and violence receive support.

This story first appeared in the Philadelphia Tribune, a publishing partner of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Special to the Capital-Star
Special to the Capital-Star

The latest and best in state and national coverage from our content partners and sites across the States Newsroom network.