Over 50 extremist or anti-semitic incidents reported in Louisiana over last 18 months
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Communities across the United States and in New Orleans are reeling after a racist rampage at a New York supermarket.
On Saturday, May 14, a white 18-year-old gunman in military gear attacked shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 Black people. Another Black person and two white people were wounded. Officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
The gunman, who had crossed the state to target the Tops Friendly Market, had talked about shooting up another store as well, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN.
Over the past year and a half, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 9,472 incidents of extremism or antisemitism in the United States. In Louisiana, there were 52 instances reported, all of which were classified as either white supremacist propaganda or anti-semitic.
A total of 18 incidents were reported across the New Orleans metro area.
“We saw a sharp increase, a 34% increase in incidents just in the Jewish community alone last year. And we know that when hate rises in one community, hate against all marginalized communities is on the rise,” Anti-Defamation League South Central Regional Director Lindsay Friedmann said.
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Ronald Coleman, President of NAACP New Orleans Branch, sais he stepped up to help those who needed him Sunday morning.
“I went into a couple of churches and the first thing that came out of their mouth was ‘we had to pray,’” Coleman said.
While Coleman tended to the community, James Stewart made sure that synagogues and Jewish centers/facilities in the area were safe.
“I let them know that there was no threat to the New Orleans Jewish community,” he said.
Stewart is the Community Security Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. He and other agencies across the nation were on high alert after the Buffalo gunman listed the Jewish community, Black community, and other marginalized groups in his manifesto.
The concern was for copycats with hate crimes on the rise nationwide.
Experts say such acts could increase, especially since the gunman broadcasted the shooting live on Twitch.
“(Twitch) basically allows anyone to put up anything at any given time,” Senior Professor of Practice at Tulane University Ashely Nelson said. “The problem was they had three million viewers or so and now their views have been shared with other people.”
Because of the exposure, Friedmann says all marginalized communities need to be on alert.
“We train our Jewish community as best as we can. We provide threat assessments. We make sure that they have security at large events,” Stewart said.
Other community leaders have asked people to educate themselves on race issues and race relations for the sake of the city.
“We are not fearful and we are not going to let the bigotry and hatred take over this place,” Coleman said. “We can’t allow this ugly time in America to happen to New Orleans. What would Mardi Gras look like? What would Essence Fest look like? What would Jazz Fest look like?”
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