New York – Speaking out strongly against anti-Semitism at a press conference held this afternoon at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a three pronged initiative to combating hate crimes within the Empire State.
Cuomo announced that the number of hate crimes has exploded in recent months, with swastikas appearing in numerous locations including playgrounds, little league ball fields and train stations. A bomb threat was made yesterday against the New York City headquarters of the Anti Defamation League, as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2lKAhOw) and the governor vowed to fight back against those who commit acts of anti-Semitism.
“As New Yorkers, we are not just going to stand by and allow this parade of hate to continue,” said Cuomo.
Denouncing those who commit hate crimes as “immoral” and “cowardly,” Cuomo noted that those actions are also illegal and that his administration is taking concrete steps to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
Among the initiatives announced today by the governor are a New York State Police special task force, a texting tip line and a $5,000 reward to be paid to anyone who provides information that leads to the capture and conviction of those who commit hate crimes.
Cuomo also announced that the state will provide $25 million to religious schools for security upgrades including cameras, security guards and alarm systems.
Noting that New York has the highest concentration of Jewish residents in the world outside of Israel, the governor said that anti-Semitism strikes close to home for many. With two brothers in law who are Jewish, Cuomo said that the incidents have affected him personally.
“I was speaking to one of my nieces the other day and the disbelief and the shock in her voice, the fear in her voice, really took me aback,” said Cuomo. “She couldn’t understand how this could be happening in New York. It’s not the New York she knows and it’s not the New York we know.”
This afternoon’s press conference was held on the heels of a round table meeting with faith based community leaders and within sight of the Statue of Liberty. Cuomo noted that as New Yorkers we are all individuals and yet we must remain united in our stance against bias crimes.
Expressing his solidarity with the Jewish community Cuomo declared, “When you attack a JCC you attack me and you attack each and every one of us. And we will respond forcefully and we will respond together.”
While the governor said he doesn’t expect the recent wave of hate crimes to subside in the immediate future he expressed hope for the future, calling on community leaders to share the message of solidarity with those they represent and encouraging each and every resident of the state to step up and take a stance against acts of hatred.
“New Yorkers will come together, with one voice, as one force ,” said Cuomo. “We will find the perpetrators of these hate crimes and it will stop. Period. And we hope the message we send in New York today echoes across this country because enough is enough.”