NewsLocal News

Actions

'It's not fair': Hate crime forum addresses vandalism at Black churches

church generic
Posted at 9:44 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 23:21:13-04

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — Many people believe the vandalism is racially motivated, since the hate speech is mainly seen at predominantly Black churches.

Community members say it's a forum that's way over due, church goers expressed how they’ve felt targeted for for years and experienced harassment. Specifically, those who attend Kingdom Celebration Center in Gambrills.

The church had two incidents that happened over the summer, where they found racist messages inscribed on the church door. People say it's an ongoing issue that is finally coming to light.

RELATED: Man wanted for inscribing racist messages on an Anne Arundel County church

"It's just not addressed. Things are very subtle. It's not addressed and it's not fair," Joanne Scipio.

Thats how many people felt who attended the forum. Some residents even expressed they don't feel comfortable going to church because they are fearful of what could happen, but faith leaders like Carl Snowden wants to change that.

This is why he helped organize this forum.

"We need to have these forums to educate the community on why we need to take these threats seriously. And put the pressure on the elected officials to make sure they’re prosecuting people who commit hate crimes," said Snowden, Convener for Caucus of the African American Leaders.

SEE MORE: New Racial Incidents Alert system to be discussed following vandalisms at church

The U.S Justice Department also attended and explained how changes will be made.

"Last friday, I announced the establishment of a new section in the office, the civil rights and special victims section. This is the first time that the office has had a section solely dedicated to civil rights. Nothing like one dedicated group of individuals to focus the attention on protecting civil rights," said Erek Barron, U.S. attorney.

"I hope it works. I hope it pays off. Where we can come to some common ground and we're not violating people's rights," said Duan Pergerson, community member.

The Caucus of African American leaders will be announcing more safety initiatives next week.