From the office of State Representative Michael Day
State Representative Michael S. Day will sponsor and host a panel discussion and community dialogue that will explore the rise of crimes and speech based on intolerance toward minority groups in our community. The conversation, co-sponsored by the Winchester Multicultural Network, will include perspectives on what minority groups are currently experiencing, how to best promote civil dialogue in our community and how to combat actions and statements that normalize antagonism towards diversity.
“From the terrorist attack in Charlottesville to the vandalism of the Holocaust Memorial in Boston, the continued rise of racial and religious intolerance in our community cannot be ignored,” said Representative Day. “This event is an important opportunity for us to meet as a community to listen to the experiences of others and to stem the tide of discrimination being normalized in our society. I thank [co-sponsor] Winchester Multicultural Network and our panelists for their participation.”
The panel discussion is free and all are welcome to attend.
It will take place on Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm at the Winchester Town Hall auditorium, 71 Mt. Vernon Street in Winchester. The panel discussion will be moderated by Representative Day and will feature Aba Taylor, Executive Director of the Winchester Multicultural Network; Stephanie Marzouk, immigration lawyer and President and co-founder of the Muslim Justice League; and Robert Trestan, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. The panel discussion will be followed by a dialogue with those in attendance.
The Commonwealth leads the nation in the number of reported hate crime incidents and has ranked in the top three states each year for nearly the last decade in this statistic, with western Massachusetts seeing an astounding 75 percent increase of reported hate crimes since 2012. There has also been a reported 50 percent statewide increase in aggravated assaults motivated by hate, with the majority of reported incidents taking place in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. In November, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey established a “hate crimes hotline” which received 300 calls in just the first four days of its implementation. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, siting the sharp increase in hate crimes in Massachusetts, ranked the state as having the fifth most anti-Semitic incidents in the country.
“In these continuously divided times we’re in, there is a lot of presented rhetoric about coming together,” said Aba Taylor. “However, in order to really take a first step at unifying, we as a country need to admit to ourselves that the perception of a divide is in itself divisive. If we truly want to unite, the first thing we must do is not distance ourselves from this notion of the other, even if we see things differently. We have to own the consequences of intolerance as our personal responsibility, even if we are not to ’blame.’ As someone once said, we must treat injustice like the house we live in—we may not have built it, but it’s our responsibility to take care of it.”
“I look forward to a robust conversation tackling difficult but important topics on the 10th, and I encourage everyone to attend,” said Representative Day.
Need more information on the event?
Those will questions about the event are welcome to contact Representative Day at Michael.Day@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2210. Questions can also directed to director@wmcn,org.
Have you been a target of a hate crime?
If you have been the target of a hate crime, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local police department and the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-800-994-3228.