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Community

Local Groups Come Together To Prevent Hate Speech

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San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce invited government, faith, and community members together today for a conversation about hate speech.

TPR’s Eileen Pace reports the anti-Semitic drawings in the neighborhood near Rodfei Sholom in mid-August captured the attention of not only San Antonio but people across the country.

More than one member of the community today remarked on the fact that the hateful event brought the community together in such a positive way. Two hundred guests packed the Pearl Stable today to have the conversation about preventing hate speech.

San Antonio City Councilman Ron Nirenberg says many people don’t want to talk to or talk about “The Other,” or those who are different from ourselves.

He says new academic literature suggests a solution that if we get out in the community and meet our neighbors, conversations would become more comfortable.

“Going outside your house, across the street, and meeting the person who lives next door. Because chances are it’s going to be someone vastly different from you, who believes differently, who looks differently, who may speak a different language.

“So I’ve been working with my staff in everything that we do to use the theme, ‘Meet Your Neighbor.’ In fact, if you use the hashtag ‘Meet Your Neighbor’ I hope you find some of the stuff we’ve been doing.”

Other members of the panel suggested education is key to solving hate problems, and Ronit Sherwin of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio said part of that education should include visits to the Holocaust Museum in San Antonio.

Asst. police Chief Jose Bañales says SAPD has implemented the Unidos program to help Spanish-speaking residents become stronger members of the community.

“In the programs that we have, we acknowledge, especially in the Spanish-speaking community, that maybe their ability to participate in getting involved has been marginalized in the past because of the language barrier. So this is why we put those programs together. And it stands to reason that would be an avenue where we could do outreach, for these type of incidents.”

Bañales says police and the FBI are still working leads but so far, they have not found the people responsible for scrawling Swaztikas and other hateful writing on some 30 vehicles and structures.