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Hate Crimes Rise In Illinois

Anti-Defamation League

Hate crimes rose by 30 percent in Illinois in 2018, according to a recently released FBI report.

Nationally,  gender-based hate crimes, such as those against transgender people, grew by 41 percent. Meanwhile, hate crimes against Latinos grew 14 percent.

David Goldenberg is the regional director of the Midwest region of the Anti-Defamation League. He says the FBI report underscores the rise in hate that his group has been tracking.

“We've seen a lot of hate-based, race-based incidents that have played out throughout Illinois in a number of ways and anywhere from on college campuses, to in communities, to targeting religious institutions, to targeting marginalized communities,’’ he said. “And it's a troubling trend that we're seeing across the state and across the region and across the country. “ 

Recent incidents in Illinois include a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student leaving a noose in a resident hall elevator and a man harassing a woman wearing a Puerto Rican flag t-shirt. 

Goldenberg said leaders need to denounce hate and avoid bigoted rhetoric, schools need to expand anti-bias education and elected officials need to speak out against hate in their communities.

“Elected officials must commit to confronting the rise and hate that comes in standing up and saying it's not going to be tolerated in a community,’’ he said.

Fred Tsao, with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said there is blame to go around.  

“I would anticipate being behind this rise in hate crimes, particularly targeting Latinos and the LGBT community, is the really hateful rhetoric that is emanating from the White House and from many of the allies of the current administration, as well as much of the media that is that trying to appeal to some of our baser sentiments.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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