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Dallas Mayor's New Council Aims To Address Rising Hate Crimes

Solomon Wilson
The Anti-Hate Advisory Council met on Wednesday, Sept. 15 to address the surge in hate crimes over the last year. The advisory council will explore issues of discrimination related to political difference, race and sexuality.

Mayor Eric Johnson has formed a new Anti-Hate Advisory Council that aims to address an increasing number of hate crimes over the past year.

Speaking at City Hall Wednesday, Johnson said the city must combat hate together.

"We cannot afford to ignore or downplay hate," he said. "Nobody should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in Dallas because of who they are — because of their race or ethnicity, their sexual and gender identities, their religion, or their national origin.”

The increase in Dallas' hate crimes is in line with a recent report from the FBI, which found hate crimes nationwide have reached their highest level in 12 years.

Data from law enforcement agencies in Texas shows a majority of hate crimes committed in the state last year were tied to a victim’s race or ethnicity.

The 16-member council will advise city leaders on how to shape policy and engage with diverse communities.

Co-chair Sanjiv Yajnik, president of financial services at Capital One, said more work needs to be done to ensure unity among diverse communities in Dallas.

“We have to make sure every person… feels physically safe and psychologically safe, and can express themselves fully,” Yajnik said.

Co-chair Sammie Berry, minister of Dallas West Church of Christ, said it’s important to identify the motivations behind hate crimes. The advisory council will explore issues of discrimination related to political difference, race and sexuality.

“We need to look at the value systems, policies, and laws that allow hate to continue to exist."

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Solomon Wilson is KERA's Marjorie Welch Fitts Louis Fellow. He focuses on covering racial equity, women’s rights, socioeconomic disparities and other evolving issues of social justice in our community.