Northwest NEWS

September 25, 2000

Editorial

Stand up to hate crimes

Send a Message to Hate Groups
   Provided by Snohomish County Diversity Council and Human Rights Coalition for Snohomish County
   Snohomish County has declared the week of October 2nd as Bias Crime Awareness Week.
   During the week there will be a variety of events co-sponsored by the non-profit Human Rights Coalition for Snohomish County (HRC) and the Snohomish County Diversity Council, a county government employee organization developed to enhance public service by fostering a greater understanding of the community's diversity.
   The celebration begins with an Opening Ceremony in the lobby of the County Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett, on Monday, October 2nd, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Featured speakers will be Deputy Executive Joni Earl, Council Chair Barbara Cothern, and Sheriff Rick Bart. They will be followed by a Diversity Dance Workshop Troupe performance. Other events take place throughout the week.
   The DDW is a Seattle-based nonprofit, educational performing arts company devoted to expressing solutions to critical social issues through performing arts. The dance troupe is composed of college-based youth from around the world who devote one year to enhance and educate communities about the healing principles of unity in diversity.
   According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "Somewhere in America every hour someone commits a hate crime. Every day 8 blacks, 3 whites, 3 gays, 3 Jews, and 1 Latino become hate crime victims. Every week a cross is burned.."
   Once considered a Southern phenomena, today over 85 percent of hate crimes occur in the North and West.
   In a recent publication by the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity, a six state coalition of groups working to defend civil rights and combat bigotry, Washington received the dubious "honor" of being home to the largest number of organized hate groups in the region. Of the 17 known groups located within the state, one is based in Snohomish County in Lynnwood, 12 others are located in western Washington in the more urbanized areas of the state. There are many small, unorganized hate groups as well.
   "Do something," the Southern Poverty Law Center advises. "In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance - by the haters, the public and worse, the victim. Turning out for activities such as the Bias Crime Awareness Week events sends the message that the people of Snohomish County will not ignore hate intimidation," said Kinuko Noborikawa, co-chair of the HRC. "Educating people is the key to teaching tolerance of differences," added Dan Martineau, Noborikawa's fellow co-chair.
   The HRC, an alliance of individuals and groups joined to promote respect and human dignity for all people in Snohomish County, has provided trained advocates to assist victims of bias crimes in the 3 years it has been in existence. With only trained advocates in the region, the HRC provides this service to victims outside of Snohomish County as well.
   The HRC has developed and distributed an information card called, "What To Do If You Are the Victim of a Bias Crime", to all law enforcement agencies within Snohomish County. The HRC may be contacted at (425) 252-6672.
   The Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity may be contacted at (206) 233-9136 or by e-mail at: ncamh@aol.com.