Fight This Hate: A Weekly Roundup

Fight this Hate shows a small selection of hate crimes and/or harassment that has taken place recently in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center keeps detailed accounts of hate crimes. Colorlines tracks all manner of topics related to race and publishes them daily. The following incidents are only a small sample, and each includes a form of direct action.


Missing Black Girls

In social media and in Washington, DC, there’s a public outcry about a lack of attention to a large number of missing black girls. The growing call for action came after DC police began a new practice of publicizing missing person fliers on Twitter in hopes they could be located faster.

Police have tweeted 22 missing person fliers between March 19 and March 24 (11 of which are for minors), which led many to believe the number of missing persons had dramatically increased — however, DC police told NBC Washington this is not true.

“We’ve just been posting them on social media more often,” Rachel Reid, a spokesperson for the DC Metro Police Department, said.

DC police told USA Today that an average of 200 total people has been reported missing each month for the past five years. This year, the average number of cases per month has been 190.

So far, there have been 501 missing children cases in 2017. All but 22 have been solved as of Friday, according to NBC Washington.

Officials said 99% of missing person cases from 2012 and 2016 have been closed, leaving just 16 of 19,000 total cases open.

Unfortunately, a false tweet went viral and created upset with its misinformation. The false information got shared – and then re-shared – many times. As noted by BuzzFeed, a tweet has been circulating the internet that wrongly states that 14 girls went missing in D.C. within 24 hours. The tweet sparked online outrage that such a fact was being underreported by the media. The upside is the tweet has raised awareness about missing black girls.

The bottom line is that it remains essential for people to advocate for missing young people of color; studies have shown that 36.7% of all missing persons under the age of 17 are black. And, as Shaun King in the New York Daily News points out in his article on the topic, “the stories of young black girls and women who are missing don’t get the Elizabeth Smart or Natalee Holloway treatment.” This makes online awareness that much more essential – and effective.

FIGHT BACK:

Donate to the Black and Missing Foundation. They track statistics, create public awareness, and provide support.


Hate Crimes are not resulting in convictions

In 2009, President Obama signed a measure into law to help prevent hate crimes.

Despite fears that the hate crime law would be overused, prosecutions under Obama’s administration were relatively few. An Associated Press analysis using data gathered by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University show that 47 people nationwide have been prosecuted using the law, with 37 convictions.

Another 300 people were referred for prosecution, but hate crimes charges were never filed. In at least half those cases, there wasn’t enough evidence or prosecutors couldn’t prove intent, a key threshold.

Even though we are not getting the prosecutions and convictions — yet — we should, it is critical to continue to report hate crimes. We can change the conviction statistics by resisting the status quo.

FIGHT BACK:

Report. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hate crime, here’s how to report.


Good News

A Los Angeles company is hoping to start a nationwide movement to help families in need brighten up their neglected homes. The program, called “Paint it Forward,” transforms lives. To learn more, read this article from the Good News Network.

If you want to nominate a home, or participate in any way, go to this website.

 

 

 


Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.

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