As Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Continue to Rise Across the State and Nation, Governor Issues Proclamation Declaring October 27 As 'Day of Action'
One World Trade Center, Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Kosciuszko Bridge, SUNY Plaza, State Education Building, Alfred E. Smith Building and New York State Fair Exposition Center to Be Lit Blue and White In Honor of Tree of Life Victims
Governor Encourages Members of Interfaith Advisory Council to Participate in Day of Action
Text of Proclamation Available Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a proclamation declaring October 27, 2019, the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., as a "Day of Action to Combat Anti-Semitism." The Governor also announced that the One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, SUNY Plaza, the State Education Building, the Alfred E. Smith Building and the New York State Fair Exposition Center will be lit in blue and white on Sunday night to honor the victims of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, which took the lives of 11 worshipers and injured seven.
"New York's strength is in our diversity, and we have zero tolerance for any acts of violence or hatred against the Jewish community," Governor Cuomo said. "As we remember the anniversary of this tragedy, I invite all New Yorkers to reflect and take action to combat the alarming rise of anti-Semitic violence both across our state and the nation. Hate crimes have no place in New York."
As part of the Day of Action, Governor Cuomo mobilized the Governor's Interfaith Advisory Council. The Governor encouraged the members of the Interfaith Advisory Council to amplify messages of inclusivity, harmony and love for one's neighbor in their respective communities, and to serve as special ambassadors of harmony and goodwill. Additionally, members of the Governor's administration will participate in the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) #ShowUpForShabbat campaign by attending services to honor the victims of last year's mass shooting and show solidarity with the American Jewish community.
The proclamation will be formally presented on Sunday at a "Day of Action" commemoration event at Central Synagogue in New York, NY, organized by the AJC New York Regional Office in partnership with UJA Federation, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Central Synagogue.
According to the FBI's most recent data, anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 percent in 2017 from the year prior. In the same report, the Jewish community was the most frequently targeted group, accounting for 60 percent of all religious-based hate crimes incidents in the United States.
PROTECTING AGAINST HATE CRIMES
Governor Cuomo has taken a number of actions to combat hate and bias-related incidents.
Last month, Governor Cuomo directed New York State Police, in partnership with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York State Division of Human Rights, to host a series of hate crime investigation training seminars for local law enforcement agencies across the state. Each of the training sessions feature presentations by members of the New York State Hate Crimes Task Force, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the Queens County District Attorney's Office.
In 2016, the Governor launched a Hate Crimes Text Line, enabling any New Yorker to easily report incidents in their community. Those who have experienced or witnessed bias or discrimination are encouraged to text "HATE" to 81336 with details of the incident, including photo or video documentation. The text line is in addition to a toll-free telephone bias and discrimination hotline operated by the State Division of Human Rights (1-888-392-3644). Since its creation in November of 2016, the hotline has received nearly 23,400 calls and has referred 187 calls to the State Police for investigation into potential criminal conduct. In case of emergency or if you are a victim of a crime, always dial 911. A $5,000 reward is also being made available for any information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime.
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services also held two conferences earlier this year on security for houses of worship. Organized with Pace University, these conferences brought together faith-based institutions, religious leaders and law enforcement professionals to share intelligence and best practices. The programs included threat briefings, information on securing faith-based facilities and mitigating threats and steps to take to survive active shooter incidents.
The Governor also recently directed New York State Police to increase their presence near synagogues and religious centers across the state during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.