Black people in Maryland are now being made aware of the level of racial threats they face with a new alert system named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched after being accused of killing a white woman in Jim Crow , Mississippi, 1950s.
The latest FBI data shows hate crimes are at their highest level in 12 years. About 62 percent of hate crime victims in 2020 were targeted because of their race or ethnicity, the report shows. According to Maryland’s Hate Bias Report, there was an average of 381 incidents each year from 2018 to 2020. More than half of the 332 victims of hate prejudice in the state in 2020 were black, the report shows.
The Emmett Till Alert system went into effect this week and will notify black leaders in Maryland of verified hate crimes and racist incidents. Leaders said the system will be in the same spirit as Emmett’s mother, who opted for an open-coffin burial to show the damage his killers had done through hate. The case was a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. Black Maryland leaders hope this would create a similar awareness of racial violence in the state.
The FBI identifies hate crimes as “an offense committed against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, sex, or gender identity.”
“If the FBI Director often said that the greatest domestic terrorism threat is white supremacists, we must take hate crime and terrorist threats seriously,” said Carl Snowden of the Caucus of African American Leaders during a news conference unveiling the system on March 22 August was announced .
A team of people would validate the reports before sending the alerts to 167 elected Maryland officials and civil rights organizations, clergy and other leaders across the country. The system would send out the alerts via email and text at three levels: low, medium and high — the highest alert signals a high likelihood of violence or death, NPR reports.
“Not all hate crimes are investigated. Not all hate crimes are reported for various reasons. What we will do is ensure that any hate crime that comes to our attention is reported in this alert system,” Snowden said.
The Maryland Black leadership hopes the system will become a model for other states.
“Once they’re able to identify the incidents, they’re really going to be able to gather and raise that awareness and communicate with various community leaders, activists and politicians,” said Sara Pratley, vice president of global intelligence at AlertMedia , the company behind the system.
FBI data showed racial attacks on black people increased to 2,871 nationwide in 2020 from 1,972. Recent attacks included the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 black people at a grocery store in May. Data collected by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism from 15 major city police departments across the country shows an average increase in bias-motivated incidents of about 5 percent so far this year.
Historically, black colleges and universities across the country — including three in Maryland — received bomb threats in January and February. The FBI has not yet charged any suspects in the threats.
https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/24/alert-system-named-after-emmett-till-will-track-racist-threats-hate-crimes-in-maryland/ The system, named after Emmett Till, will warn black leaders about racist threats and hate crimes