On Thursday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new measures to fight “the recent rash of hate crimes” and anti-Semitic incidents, specifically, that have been occurring in New York and across the U.S., including the scores of headstones overturned at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. He was flanked by more than 50 leaders and clergy from local Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities.
Cuomo will ask lawmakers to approve: a $25 million grant program for improved security measures in New York schools and day-care centers; a $5000 reward “for any information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime”; an expansion of a toll-free hotline to include the ability to send text messages to report incidents of bias and discrimination; and additional resources for a special task force organized by state police to “chase down the people who are behind these hate crimes,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo, who has two brothers-in-law who are Jewish, as well as nieces, added: “I share the pain and the outrage of so many New Yorkers. These acts are unimaginable, the acts of anti-Semitism. And New York is blessed to have more Jewish people… than any other place outside of Israel. We have had actions against our Muslim brothers and sisters. We have had hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community. And our message is clear: We are united and we will not tolerate it and we will not stand for it… I felt the pain close to home.”
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.