23 THE QUEENS COURIER • APRIL 22, 2022 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Governor Hochul announces $16M in funding
to help organizations combat hate crimes
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Governor Kathy Hochul announced nearly
$16 million in funding to strengthen safety and
security measures at nonprofi t organizations at
risk of hate crimes or attacks during an anti-hate
crime rally held at Queens College on Wednesday,
“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. Th e funding will allow
synagogues, churches, religious schools, civic
organizations and other nonprofi t 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.
Th e fi scal year 2023 state budget directs $25
million for Securing Communities Against Hate
Crimes (SCAHC) grants.
Benefi ts 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 specifi c facility
or facilities were eligible to apply for this funding.
Th e maximum grant was $50,000 each for
no more than three facilities, for a maximum
award of $150,000. Th e 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
nonprofi t 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 nonprofi ts, 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. Th ese 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 fi ght racism
and rising violence to keep all New Yorkers safe.”
As defi ned 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 aff ect
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
signifi cant 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. Th e
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.
“Th is 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.
“Th e community faces hate on a regular basis.
Th e Asian American community also continues
to fi ght 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. Th is budget is our response to hate,”
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, fi ghting hate crimes is a collective
“We of diff erent faiths but of one family stand
together when anyone is a victim of this heinous
hatred,” Potasnik said.
Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin/Offi ce of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul, joined by elected and community leaders, delivers remarks Wednesday, April 13, at an
anti-hate crime rally with Jewish and Asian groups at Queens College.