Preventing Hate Violence

Joining with our neighbors to prevent hate violence against all our communities

NYC Against Hate is where communities come together to protect each other and fight identity-based violence.

In addition to JFREJ, the NYC Against Hate coalition includes: the Audre Lorde Project, Arab American Association of New York, Brooklyn Movement Center, Center for Anti-Violence Education, Desis Rising Up & Moving, Global Action Project, Make the Road New York, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project. For the first time, a diverse coalition of community-based organizations — representing Jewish, immigrant, Latinx, Muslim, Arab & South Asian, Black, and LGBTQGNC populations — will coordinate their responses to incidents of hate violence and equip New Yorkers with the tools we need to keep each other safe in interactions with ICE, the police, and bigoted harassers on the streets and the trains.

Responding to an incident of Islamophobic vandalism in Brooklyn, 2021

New York is experiencing a surge in hate violence that mirrors a nationwide increase. According to the FBI, hate violence reached a 16-year high in 2018 and reports of antisemitic crimes specifically rose by 24 percent in 2019, while gender-related hate crimes nearly doubled. Hate crimes overall increased again in 2020 by two percent, while hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities increased by 146 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.

The city’s current responses to incidents of hate violence over-emphasize policing and hate crimes prosecutions, which data suggests are some of the least effective ways to prevent hate violence. The criminal legal system is not the right tool for this problem.

We need stronger, more effective solutions to hate violence: we have to divest from policing and carceral responses, and invest in approaches that prevent violence through education and community-building, interrupt violence through community-based bystander trainings and rapid response at the local level, and repair damage through restorative justice, counseling, and peer-support. Policing and prosecution cannot prevent hate violence.

Our vision is a New York City that is free from hate violence because all communities impacted by bigotry have come together and rejected any approach that divides us against each other.

Photo of a crowd of JFREJ members holding signs reading "Jews against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism"
Iftar in the Streets, 2018

NYC Against Hate is piloting:

  • Bystander intervention trainings to empower community members to ally themselves with victims when an incident of hate or harassment is underway in public. Download the training materials here.
  • Community safety canvasses about harassment and hate violence prevention
  • Community-based, culturally competent reporting of hate violence incidents. Marginalized communities feel safest reporting incidents to community-based organizations, which can help them to make a safety plan and determine whether or not they would like to report to law enforcement or another city agency.
  • Community care, including community-led transformative justice processes that focus on challenging and transforming the perspectives of people who do harm in our neighborhoods, as well as counseling and peer support services for survivors of violence.
  • Rapid incident responses that may include community alerts, town hall meetings, neighborhood safety events, and will also create space for targeted school-based and neighborhood education across multiple identities.

Read the complete NYC Against Hate Policy Platform here.

Community Safety Canvass in Riverdale, July 2021
Day Against Hate Canvass, February 2020
Community Safety Canvass in Williamsburg, January 2022.

Since 2016, JFREJ has been a member of the Hate Free Zones coalition, led by DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving), which fights to protect communities from Islamophobia, xenophobia, state violence and hate violence.

A Hate Free Zone is “a community defense system that will allow us to defend our communities from workplace raids, deportations, mass criminalization, violence, and systemic violation of our rights and dignity.” Jewish safety is directly tied to building solidarity with our neighbors. Hate Free Zones is an exercise in nurturing this shared commitment to our mutual safety.

The fruits of this effort were evident after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, when we hosted a Havdallah vigil in Union Square and a Solidarity Shabbat in Jackson Heights, Queens. When danger struck in our Jewish community, it was these our partners, hailing from South Asian, Latinx, and Filipino communities, with signs in Urdu, Bangla, Spanish, and Tagalog, who created a protective circle around us as we performed our rituals of mourning.

We have hosted Hate Free Zones town halls and bystander intervention trainings including Cop Watch and ICE Watch trainings, with the goal of organizing the Jewish community in each neighborhood to intervene in instances of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim violence and street harassment.

These moments of empathy and solidarity represented everything we’ve been building together — a community protection system where we know our neighbors and we all rise together when needed.