Governor Kathy Hochul announced nearly $16 million in funding to strengthen safety and security measures at nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks during an anti-hate crime rally held at Queens College on Wednesday, April 13.
“New York state’s diversity is our strength, yet too many New Yorkers continue to live in fear and today we say enough is enough,” Hochul said during the event held at the Queens College Student Union Ballroom. “Hate, racism and xenophobia have no place in our state, and this critical funding sends a clear message that New York stands united against individuals who seek to show hatred and divide us.”
Queens College President Frank Wu thanked Hochul for her exemplary leadership in “strongly standing against the virus of bigotry, antisemitism and discrimination infecting the state and nation.”
A total of 205 organizations received 327 grants, which are available through the state’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program and administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The funding will allow synagogues, churches, religious schools, civic organizations and other nonprofit organizations to secure their facilities and better protect the individuals and families they serve.
Rossana Rosado, commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, said she is proud of her agency’s role in administering the funding.
The fiscal year 2023 state budget directs $25 million for Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC) grants.
Benefits will be expanded for victims of hate crimes, who will now be able to obtain up to $2,500 in reimbursement — an increase of $2,000 from past years. Also, under public safety and criminal justice reforms passed in the budget, all hate crimes that are not currently arrest-eligible will become arrest-eligible if the individual is 18 years or older.
Recipients of these grants have facilities in 28 counties in every region of the state. Organizations that had not previously received funding or those that had not received funding for a specific facility or facilities were eligible to apply for this funding.
The maximum grant was $50,000 each for no more than three facilities, for a maximum award of $150,000. The funding may be used for interior or exterior security improvements, such as alarms, panic buttons, fences, shatter-resistant glass and public address systems, among other items. Funds also may be used to cover costs associated with security training.
Additionally, approximately $83.1 million in total funding has been awarded to more than 600 nonprofit organizations to support approximately 1,700 projects since the program’s creation in 2017.
As hate crimes in the state continue to rise, Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation (AAF), had the privilege of meeting with the grantees of the “Hope Against Hate Campaign” that Hochul made possible with a $3.3 million grant.
“We celebrated the start of the work to build safety programs and community education in our community,” Yoo said. “We are grateful for this new investment that Governor Hochul has allocated that can be used by nonprofits, houses of worship, civic organizations and other critical community organizations to address the safety needs of our treasured and vital institutions.”
As news broke about the Brooklyn subway shooting that occurred on April 12, Yoo says the Asian community held their breath praying that it wasn’t an anti-Asian attack and noting the three Sikh men who were recently assaulted in Queens.
“We do need some security in place and we need to think about security cameras. These are things that we’ve never thought about because we’ve never gotten funding for infrastructure,” Yoo said. “New York City leads the country with the most anti-Asian hate attacks, and this is not a number we should be proud of. But by these investments, we have the resources to fight racism and rising violence to keep all New Yorkers safe.”
As defined by state law, hate crimes target individuals, groups of individuals or property because of a perception or belief about race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics.
While the total number of hate crime incidents reported to police statewide is a fraction of all reported crimes, these crimes adversely affect entire communities, not just the intended individual or institution. New York state monitors these incidents to identify trends and measures that address or prevent an increase in attacks.
Preliminary statewide data for 2021 shows a significant increase in hate crime incidents: 778 in 2021 as compared to 497 in 2020. Jewish, Black, Asian and LGBTQ+ individuals and institutions were most commonly targeted and those incidents contributed to the statewide increase. The 778 hate crimes were the most reported during the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021. It was only the second time during that time frame when total incidents exceeded 700; there were 734 hate crimes reported in 2012.
Queens lawmakers applauded Hochul for prioritizing the issue of hate crimes plaguing communities across the city.
According to Congresswoman Grace Meng, public safety must continue to be the top priority for the city and state.
“From safety in the subway and increased hate crimes to senseless gun violence and the ongoing mental health crisis, New York needs and deserves all the resources possible to combat the rise in crime,” Meng said. “Everybody deserves to feel safe whether on mass transit or walking down the street.”
State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said as the steady surge of hate crimes across New York continues, there is no room for complacency.
“This new security funding will go a long way to keep and protect New Yorkers safe,” said Rozic, who commended Hochul for taking real, credible steps to prevent and address hate crimes in New York. “We will continue taking action until it is incontrovertibly clear that New York will not tolerate hate or violence.”
As the Jewish community observes Passover on April 15, which tells the story of the escape from slavery, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said they’re reminded that the struggle is not over.
“The community faces hate on a regular basis. The Asian American community also continues to fight racism, bigotry and injustice. People do not realize that unemployment is rampant, people face housing and food insecurity and the highest poverty rate is in the Asian American community. This budget is our response to hate,” Stavisky said.
State Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal praised Hochul, saying she has shown “real leadership by ensuring hate crimes join the ranks of other heinous crimes which are bail eligible.”
Following recent events in the Asian American and Jewish communities to Queens’ Sikh community, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said that far too many families have experienced the “sickening and sharpening sting of hate” over the past two years.
“Bigotry and violence are wholly antithetical to our values as Queens residents and as New Yorkers, and we must leave no stone unturned to not only help prevent hate crimes but support those who have been targeted or otherwise touched by them,” Richards said.
For Rabbi Joe Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis, fighting hate crimes is a collective communal responsibility.
“We of different faiths but of one family stand together when anyone is a victim of this heinous hatred,” Potasnik said.
Watch Governor Hochul’s full announcement below.
Hate, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia have no place in our State. Tune in as I deliver remarks at Queens College: https://t.co/N6O62piztn
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) April 13, 2022