Responding to Hate Groups
Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission
Annapolis Human Relations Commission
The Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission and the Annapolis Human Relations Commission roundly condemn the vandalism motivated by hate and bias that desecrated Fowler United Methodist Church. These kind of actions are hate crimes that must be vigorously investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. When identified the perpetrator or perpetrators of these actions should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Both Commissions call on all members of our community, especially civil rights activists and leaders, business leadership, religious leadership of all faiths and political leadership who are similarly appalled by these continuing hate fueled actions to join together in condemning these acts. We must make it clear that these heinous acts do not represent or reflect who we are.
If we want Anne Arundel County to truly be the best place for all then hate crimes must be vigorously addressed and their perpetrators punished.
"The Anne Arundel Human Relations Commission and the Annapolis Human Relations Commission mourn for those in our beloved community that were deeply hurt by terrible hate inspired actions. Enough is enough! It's Past time to speak truth to power"
Eugene Peterson and Michael Keller Commission Chairs
Racist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant literature has occasionally appeared on the property of residents of neighborhoods in Annapolis, generating expressions of concern.
Their alarm is well-founded. The group responsible for the flyers, The National Alliance, is the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States and has a chapter in Baltimore. The National Alliance apparently believes that Annapolis is a fertile ground for its recruitment and propaganda activities.
City law enforcement officers, as well as elected officials, have received calls from dismayed citizens demanding action. Little can be done legally, unless a crime has been committed. The distribution of literature, however vile, is protected by the Constitution. However, acts of vandalism are against the law. Those who are the victims of such offenses should call the police.
Responding to Hate Incidents
There also are ways in which citizens can respond to hate incidents like literature drops at their homes. While the first reaction of many people is to suggest that organizations like The National Alliance be ignored, this is the worst approach. Hate groups interpret silence as a sign that people quietly support their goals, and they increase their activities in the area as a result.
Residents who experience hate incidents, as opposed to crimes, are urged to notify the Human Relations Commission. A member of the Commission will be in touch with all persons who inform us that they have been targeted by a hate group.
Knowing how to respond effectively requires education. The Human Relations Commission has established a speakers bureau to brief community organizations and other groups about how to deal with hate groups. Organizations interested in receiving a presentation should contact the commission.