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Maryland has launched The Emmett Till Alerts system alert to flag racist incidents and acts of hate across the state. Named in honor of the 14-year-old Black teen who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman, this alert will serve as a warning system if credible threats are made.
“When the FBI director said often that the greatest domestic terrorism threat is white supremacists, we have to take hate crimes and terrorist threats seriously,” said Carl Snowden of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County, Md., during a news conference announcing the system.
According to NPR, the new Emmett Till warning system, effective immediately, will notify Black leaders across Maryland of any credible racist incidents or hate crimes that take place anywhere in the state.
Once a hate crime or racist incident is reported, a team of people will determine if an alert should be sent out.
The new alert system aims to increase awareness of hate crimes.
The new alert system will consist of three levels: low, medium and high — the highest alert signals a great likelihood of violence or death, Snowden told local TV station WJZ.
“Not all hate crimes are investigated. Not all hate crimes are reported, for a variety of reasons. What we are going to do is make sure every hate crime that we’re made aware of goes out on this alert system,” Snowden said.
AlertMedia, the company behind the system, told local TV station WBAL that it will deliver alerts via text message and email.
“Once they’re able to identify the incidents, they’ll really be able to rally and raise that awareness and communicate with different community leaders, activists and politicians,” Sara Pratley, AlertMedia’s vice president of global intelligence, told WBAL.
Black people urgently need the Emmett Till alerts system nationwide.
Just today, a federal grand jury found a Florida man guilty on hate crime charges for a “racially motivated” attack on a Black man traveling with his family in Seminole, 24 miles west of Tampa, the US justice department announced on Thursday.
The Black man, identified only by as “JT”, was driving with his daughter and girlfriend last August when Jordan Patrick Leahy, 29, spewed racial slurs and attempted to run him off the road for nearly a mile.
According to The Guardian, the two drivers then encountered each other at a light, where Leahy got out of his car and “tried to assault” the Black man as he continued to yell racist expletives, prosecutors said.
Blacks have historically been targeted by police, racist individuals, and white supremacy groups.
According to VOA News, hate crimes in major U.S. cities rose moderately during the first half of 2022 after posting double-digit percentage increases over the past two years, according to police data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
The data collected from 15 major city police departments show an average increase of about 5 percent in bias-motivated incidents so far this year, according to a new report by the extremism research center at California State University at San Bernardino. The 15 cities have a combined population of 25.5 million people.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said that crimes against Black people were again the most prevalent in 2021, climbing 13% from 2020 to 513 reported incidents. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias increased nearly 50% to 303 incidents while crimes against Asian Americans were up 178% to 247 incidents.
“One hard truth in our state, just as we see across the nation, is that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat,” said Bonta, a Democrat, at a news conference. “Each of these incidents represents an attack on a person, a neighbor, a family member, a fellow Californian.”
The 1,763 hate crimes reported in 2021 was the sixth highest tally since the department began collecting and reporting data statewide in 1995. It is also the highest since 2001, when 2,261 hate crimes fueled by the 9/11 terrorist attacks were reported in California.