In Focus: A Discussion On Report By Southern Poverty Law Center On 'Hate Incidents'

Dec 10, 2016

The rhetoric on the campaign trail in this past presidential election has sparked much fear and anxiety in different communities across our country, and according to a recent report in the ten days after the election of Donald Trump as President of The United States, there have been nearly 900 documented incidents of harassment and intimidation.

In a report titled, “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of This Election,” Southern Poverty Law Center says that “hate incidents” have been documented in almost every state in our country, especially in the few days directly following the election. These reported incidents have been listed to target immigrants, minorities, women, the LGBTQ community, and different religious groups.

Prior to the election, New Mexico CAFé (Comunidades en Acción y de Fé de NM) to understand what voters have been concerned about and since the election, the organization has been working to reach out to anyone who may feel threatened, so they can find a safe place.

Sarah Silva, Executive Director of CAFé on a recent taping of KRWG’s In Focus talked about these “hate incidents” and how her organization is trying to reach out to people who may be living in fear or anxiety after the election.  

“On election day and the days leading after, folks were concerned not only for their future, but for their safety, and so we immediately put something up on our website where folks can report incidents if something happened to their family that was due to race, class, or gender,” says Silva.

Silva says the Saturday following the election around 70 people gathered to discuss what may be in store for different communities in a Trump administration.

The Southern Poverty Law Center Report says that 32 percent of these nearly 900 documented incidents since the election have been targeted at immigrants or people suspected to be immigrants.

“I think this election, and this candidacy has definitely called into question who we deem as American and not,” says Silva.

According to Silva both Democrats and Republicans have targeted immigrants in campaigns.

“Both parties over generations and numerous election cycles have used immigrants, and targeted them in particular to move campaign agendas forward, and that’s not ok on either side,” says Silva.

Silva says President Obama failed to deliver on a promise of immigration reform and also says that Obama has deported more people from the United States than recent presidents.

“Obama has said in his first election said he was going to do something for immigration reform and nothing happened. He (Obama) has deported more people in his presidency than the last three presidents,” says Silva.

Silva says that Donald Trump plans to deport the same number of people, but at a faster rate.

“Trump in contrast says he will deport just as many immigrants as Obama did in his entire eight years, which is about three-million people. That he (Trump) wants to do that, but in his first 100 days,” says Silva.

Silva says her organization wants to take Trump at his word, because the President-Elect will have a major say on how homeland security and immigration enforcement is managed.

Since the election, Silva says her organization has also received many calls of concern from DACA-eligible (Differed Action For Childhood Arrivals) people in New Mexico who came here undocumented as children and are now working or going to school with legal status. Also, she says people are calling with other basic concerns since the election.

“There are people who may lose their healthcare, there are people who may lose their Medicare, and we don’t know what’s going to happen with those things,” says Silva.

The report by the SPLC also says that 206 of these nearly 900 reported “incidents of hate” have been in public places, and 183 have been reported to take place in K-12 schools.

“We have actual cases of people who have been harassed at the supermarket, because of their hijab, or there are children who are being called names or racial slurs at school,” says Silva.

The SLPC report also discusses how white nationalism is tied into these reported “hate incidents,” along with Anti-Trump incidents which the SLPC says 23 of the nearly 900 were reported.